Wednesday 31 December 2008

A New Year Dawns . . .

"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day."
~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Ahh . . . here we are. January 1st, 2009. A brand new month. A brand new year. January, the month of new beginnings and a time to cherish memories. The month in which winter weaves her magically ponderous spell about us with it's cool and crisp days. This is the month where we will be glad of woolly scarves, warm mittens and log fires. We snuggle in with long dark evenings . . . comforting, savoury suppers, lively conversation, or even solitary joys, our only companions. The temperatures plummet and, if we are lucky, snow falls softly . . . all of nature is at peace and at rest. This is the perfect time for us to draw back and relax as well. All the hectic busyness of Christmas is past and a new year waits before us to be drawn upon like a new page. This is the month to dream and to look ahead . . .

Only dreams can give birth to change. Take some time today to quietly reflect on what your dreams are. What are your hopes for the future? What are the gentle yearnings of your heart? This is not a time for resolutions. Resolutions that only get broken , one by one as the year waxes on. This is the time for private aspirations and hope. What are the longings you have tucked away in your heart, waiting for just the right time? Have faith and trust that NOW is the time. Ask the questions that need to be asked of yourself, and then have confidence that the answers will come, and that you will see them, minute by minute . . . day by day. Trust that you will find a way to live them and then . . .

Take a leap of faith into the future! Let us begin this wondrous new year by believing. Believing in ourselves and our dreams, and, believing in the Great Master Creator . . . the sower of dreams and hope, who is just waiting for us to ask Him to help us make our dreams come true.

Today IS the first day 0f the rest of your life and how it goes is up to you and the choices you make. You may be called this year to do any number of things . . . some may be easy, some may be hard. Success at times may seem impossible, but I firmly believe if we call upon God for help and seek the Saviour's guidance, all things are possible. May this be a year when we can, each of us, seek His voice and have the heart to listen to His answers. May we, each one of us, have enough faith to move forward and walk in His steps, and to know that whatever, wherever, whenever . . . He IS there with us.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"
Philippians 4:13

Read the words . . . know them and take them into your heart . . . believe them and then move forward into the future, hand in hand with the Master. I am really looking forward to the journey over this next year and taking you along with me. Isn't it exciting!!

We had the missionaries over for supper last night. I didn't do a raclette after all. I had a big rib roast in the freezer that I had bought for another evening where sickness meant it was not needed, so I thought rather than let it sit in the freezer for months and months deteriorating I would take it out and cook it up. So we dined on Roast Beef, and potatoes, swede, carrots, Brussels sprouts and puffy Yorkshire puddings and for dessert we finished off the cheesecake and then had these . . .

*Cape Breton Pork Pies*

Makes about 24

Over here if someone is caught telling a *Porkie Pie* that is Cockney rhyming slang for telling a lie! I think these come very close to that, coz there's no oink within an inch of these delicious little *cookie* tarts! With a rich buttery shortbread base, a luscious date filling and a crown of delicious butter cream, these are pleasing on all levels. Impressive and yet easy, this is an old Nova Scotian recipe that you will find on many holiday trays around this time of year.


1 cup butter

4 TBS icing sugar

2 cups flour


2 cups chopped dates

1 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cup water

the juice of half a lemon


2 1/4 cups sifted icing sugar

4 ounces softened butter

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 TBS milk

Pre-heat the oven to 425*C/205*C. You will need either two 12 cup mini muffin tins or one 24 cup.

Place the flour and icing sugar for the base into a food processor. Add the butter cut into chunks and then process it for about 3 minutes, until the butter is all cut in and the mixture starts to come together. Dump out and knead for a few minutes. Divide into 24 walnut size pieces and roll each into a ball. Place each ball in one of the muffin cups and press it out to line each one evenly. Bake in the heated oven for 10 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool.

In the meantime make the filling. Mix all the filling ingredients together in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until smooth and thick. Set aside to cool.

To make the butter icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Add the softened butter, vanilla and milk. Beat together on high until thick and creamy. You may need more or less milk. It all depends. I add it about half at a time. Sometimes I need the full amount, sometimes not.

Divide the date filling between each of the cookie cups. Dot each with a bit of the butter icing to finish, or use a piping bag to pipe some on top of each.

In all likelihood, you will end up with some date filling leftover. This is what I do with it . . . yumm, sandwiched between two oatmeal cookies and with a glass of milk, this is bliss . . . pure bliss.

Happy New Year Everyone!


  1. Happy New Year, my special friend! Wishing you & Todd a blessed 2009--full of love, peace and joy! :o) Your words comfort, uplift and inspire. In a few moments I'm going to make some tea, open a brand new journal book I bought myself for Christmas and write some memories of the holidays season and think of the months ahead. No big resolutions...just a greater commitment to my spiritual development, taking more time for quiet pleasures, doing what I love, and some new adventures thrown into the mix. So many possibilities--that's what I love about the fresh-slate of the New Year! Looking forward to joining you here at Oak Cottage in the months ahead! LOVE YOU ((BIG HUGS))

  2. Happy New Year! Thanks so much for sharing your life with me in 2008 & many happy wishes for wonderful things in 2009.

  3. Happy New Year! What a way to wake up to it! Your journal is a bright light in my morning.

  4. Happy New Year to you and Todd! I wish you a blessed year. For a short time, I may not be commenting much, but know that I am a faithful reader. This new job requires me to be gone from home for a time, so my time at home is limited. I am making a big commitment to God this year, letting him be my guide. Much, much love - Raquel XXXOOO

  5. Happy New Year!
    Hope it is a marvelous one.
    Cape Breton Pork Pies are delicious! So fun to see them here:)

  6. Happy New Year to you both! May your dreams come true! You always cheer up my day too ! 'On Ya'-ma

  7. What a beautiful post. I'm so glad I was introduced to your blog through Sandra of Full Bellies, Happy Kids. :-)

  8. MArie,
    I am so grateful for finding your inspire and teach me every day. Thank you for todays post and the wonderful recipe. I now know what I will be making for dessert tonight. I pray for a 2009 of peace, joy and love.
    Hugs, Barb

  9. You sure do feed the missionaries alot- I am sure that they love it! I love you post- I am going to try and take some of your words with me as I ponder on what I am going to try and do this year to make my life better. Thanks- Happy New Year!

  10. May you know the blessings of our blessed Saviour in 2009!!!!! I am looking forward to getting back to reading your blog on a daily basis!!!! I have missed being here! Marie x

  11. Happy New Year to you and Todd hope youhave a good year. love Joan

  12. Happy New Year Marie and Todd!!!Hope yours is a blessed one!! Your post was sooo uplifting and inspiring today as always.I am starting a journal today,a beautiful book a dear friend gave me for Christmas.And your thoughts gave me many ideas. I want to start my own blog,that is one of my quests for this New Year. I also want to get closer to our heavenly Father,read the Bible more and study the word, there are some changes going on in my life now with my husbands job,we may have to move and I'm trusting the Lord to help us what ever happens.I wrote you yesterday for the first time,I would love for you to drop me a line if you could that would make my day!! e-mail me at if you get a chance. You have a great blog with great recipes and great words of inspiration! Keep up the good work. Love Dianne

  13. Happy new year Marie. Hope to see many more beautiful posts from you :)

  14. Happy New Year Marie to you and Todd :)

    Those Porky Pies look SO SO good, you know when I first read it I thought, pork???? LOL I should have read your post first and the list of ingredients.

    Now I'll have to try these :)

  15. Happy New Year Dear Marie!

    Thank you for that beautiful post. I always love to hear your wise words. I am glad you are feeling better. Today I am wishing a year of happiness, safety and joy for you and your Todd!


    PS -- Those pies look delicious!

  16. thanks for the inspiring post today marie! happy new year! heres to a wonderful 2009!

  17. Happy New year to you and Todd. Your dinner sure looks and sounds delicious as always

  18. Happy New Year! Thanks so much for calling me this morning. It really made my day. You're such a wonderful friend. I'm so grateful I discovered your blog a year ago. Without you, the Pond would still have 2 readers!

  19. Hi Marie... you said it the way I was thinking it... it is a time to reflect on our hopes and dreams. I never did like making resolutions for the reasons you mentioned here. Happy New Year to you as well! And I love the new look to your blog. I've enjoyed reading your blog entries this year as much as ever, but it seems I haven't been as dedicated to my own entries as you have to yours. I would love to get back into daily blogging, but it took me two hours just to complete the one I wrote tonight. My goodness! Again, thanks for this wonderful entry.

  20. I am excited about the new year also! can't wait to see what is in store of us!!!!

  21. Happy New Year.
    Thankyou once again for your inspirational post and good advice. I will surely try to seek His voice in all that I do and listen to His directions.

    We made your sticky gingerbread last night and had it just as the clock rang in the new year. Tonight we made your reindeer cookies again. The kids went wild making crazy looking reindeer and had a blast. So you see my dear that you have been here with us as we have celebrated ringing out the old and in the New Year.

    I send love and best wishes. My computer is fixed now so I will try to post again soon. XOXO Lura

  22. Dear Marie
    People must love getting invited to come to your house for dinner! The meal sounds so delicious. Thanks for all the wonderfully encouraging words. Isn't it a blessing to know that there is a God who loves us and has a plan?
    You are a blessing to me my sweet friend.
    Hugs, Rhondi

  23. I hope you and Todd have a wonderful 2009. I so look forward to reading your inspiring posts, trying out your recipes and soaking up the good vibes which emanate from your page. It's always a joy!

    I'm terribly behind in reading posts, but I WILL get to them over the next day or so.

    Thankyou for sharing a glimpse of your life and a lot of wisdom.

  24. Happy New Year! I hope 2009 is a happy and successful year for you, Todd and Jess! I have never seen those little pies before but they look really good :D


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