Pause for Poetry Far Away Christmas

pauseby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Welcome to Pause for Poetry featuring a poem written by my writer-friend, Shirley Specht Johnson.

Far Away Christmas

By Shirley Specht Johnson

I was looking for Christmas from long long ago,
gathering together and time moving slow.
The aroma of cakes, cookies and bread,
snowflakes falling, the joy of a sled.
Angels in the snow, building snowmen too,
the wintery art that families do.
Hats and boots, losing a glove,
quiet mornings, the coo of a dove.
Homes that sang Christmas with each shining light,
that one little star that shone in the night.
The delicate hymn, the choir’s song,
skating with friends all day long.
Family and friends were always so near
the wonderful story, the evening prayer.
I was looking for Christmas from long long ago,
When family was close and time moved so slow,
I thought all those Christmases were so far away,
then they appeared in my heart,
so close they’ll stay.

Shirley Specht Johnson loves to share inspiration and encouragement through her writing. She is a member of SCBWI and is currently participating in 12X12. She loves to read and has volunteered at her local Public Library as an Adult Literacy Tutor. She shares moments of inspiration and her writing life at her blog.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Leave a comment below. If you think others would appreciate reading this please share it through the social media buttons.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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“Far Away Christmas” first appeared on Woven and Spun December 5, 2015.

Lest We Forget the True Reason for Christmas

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

December 1. Where did the year go? December 1 and Christmas is twenty-four days away. Before we get caught up in the bustle, stress and busyness that is often associated with this season, let’s make sure we pause, take a deep deep breath, and remember why we celebrate, lest we forget the true reason for Christmas.

Our story goes all the way back to the third chapter of the first book of the Bible, Genesis. God created man. Man sinned. God and man’s fellowship was broken. God sent a Redeemer, Jesus, to make us right with God again. When we accept Christ’s sacrifice and claim him as our Savior, our fellowship with God is restored.

God is Holy. He can’t be in the presence of sin. Our sin separates us from God. Christ’s sacrifice bridges the chasm between us and God. That sacrifice makes us acceptable to a Holy God. Our sins are forgiven, Glory Hallelujah!

Courtesy pixabay

I believe it is easier for us to envision a helpless cuddly baby coming into our world and feeling all warm and fuzzy over that thought, than it is to face the reality of a Suffering Savior nailed to a wooden cross, and acknowledge he took the punishment for a debt we owed, but could never pay.

Lest we forget the true reason for Christmas while we deck the halls with boughs of holly, sing jingle bells, shop ’til we drop, and bake like maniacs, please, let’s remember Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for each of us. And give thanks for the gift of forgiveness.

What do you do to remember the true reason for Christmas?

Courtesy pixabay

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

Yet it was our grief he bore, our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, for his own sins! But he was wounded and bruised for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace; he was lashed—and we were healed! We—every one of us—have strayed away like sheep! We, who left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet God laid on him the guilt and sins of every one of us! Isaiah 53:4-6 (TLB)

I wish you well,

Sandy

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Shaken Book Review

Shaken Tim Tebowby Sandy Kirby Quandt

In Shaken by Tim Tebow, the Heisman trophy winning quarterback for the University of Florida Gators and Denver Broncos, before being traded to the NY Jets, and also cut from the Eagles and Patriots, asks some important questions in his new book.

Whose are we? Who are we when life is steady? Who are we when storms come?

Don’t be confused. Shaken is not a biography nor is it a memoir. It is a book filled with hope amid disappointments that weaves both anecdotes and biblical truth together throughout the pages. Tim writes about people he has met who have overcome tremendous challenges. The key to overcoming was to understand that what God knows about us is more important than what others think about us.

God created us. We are his workmanship. He has a purpose and a plan for our life.

As Tim wrote about being cut from football teams and seeing his dream of quarterbacking an NFL team disappear, he asked what do we do when our world is shaken, our plans and dreams get obliterated, and the path we’re on moves in an unwanted direction. He suggests we do what he did before our world was shaken, and hold on to the truth of who God is and whose we are.

Near the end of his book Tim says, “Society doesn’t define what’s important in my life.” He goes on to add we should not limit what God can do in our lives based on how we limit ourselves.

Good advice.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Leave a comment below. If you think others would appreciate reading this please share it through the social media buttons.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures Companion in the Dark

Sunday Scripturesby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Timothy was the large, furry, well fed and cared for neighborhood dog. Whenever I saw Timothy, he always–always–had a ball in his slobbery mouth. He would drop the ball at my feet, and anyone else’s feet, sit patiently, and wait for the ball to be thrown. Then chase it and return, tail wagging, to start the game all over again.

Every time there was enough snow for sledding, the street Timothy lived on was left unplowed. Whenever that happened, Timothy was out there with the rest of us having himself a grand ole time chasing snowballs, and following sleds down the hill.

One evening when I was in elementary school, my brother and I went sledding down Timothy’s street. After a while, my hands, feet, and nose were numb and I wanted to go home. Butter, however, did not. I knew my way home. It wasn’t far. But it was dark. I’d never walked that far in the dark by myself before. And I didn’t want to start. When I couldn’t persuade Butter to leave, I hesitantly ventured out on my own.

I hadn’t gone far when I sensed I was being followed. Before I knew it, something large bumped up against me and leaned into my side. Timothy. I’d never been happier to see that dog. I kept my hand on Timothy’s back and talked to him the whole way home.

He was my companion. He was my protector. He was my friend. Before I crossed the busy street in front of my house, I hugged that furry dog with all my might, and thanked him for getting me home safe.

When I walked away from my brother that night and told him I could get home fine on my own, thank you very much, I said it, but I wasn’t so sure I could actually do it. Fortunately for me, Timothy came along. With him by my side, I didn’t have to face the dark alone.

Before Jesus left this earth and returned to his home in heaven, he told his disciples he would send them a comforter. He would send them someone to walk alongside them as they traveled through life. The Holy Spirit would be their guide and protect them. They didn’t need to be afraid, for the Holy Spirit would always be with them. Even in the dark when they walked home alone. The same is true for us.

Whenever the things of this world frighten us and we feel all alone, we need to remember we aren’t walking home by ourselves. Jesus’ Holy Spirit, our companion, is right there with us. He comforts and keeps us safe even through the darkest night.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

I will ask the Father to send you another Helper, the Spirit of truth, who will remain constantly with you. John 14:16 (Voice)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Thankful Heart

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

What are you thankful for on this day set aside in the United States as a day of Thanksgiving?

The old song told us to count our many blessings, naming them one by one. How long has it been since we actually took the time to do just that? 2016 is rapidly drawing to a close, so now might be a perfect time to take up pen and page, or computer, and start a list.

Look back over the previous months. What do you have to be thankful for? Start a list. courtesy pixabayWrite it down. As you write from a thankful heart, thank God for what he has done, is doing, and will do.

Thank God for the things he gave you, and the things he withheld.

One of the things I am thankful for is you. Those of you who take the time to read what God gives me to write. I’m thankful for your comments that add to our conversation. I’m thankful for your support in my writing journey and your encouragement.

Don’t just focus on what some might call major “Yay, God” moments alone, such as healing from serious illness. But focus on what some might call the common everyday things as well. Thank God for the pastel palette of colors in each sunrise and sunset. The laughter of a child. The presence of a friend. Gas in the car. Heat in the house. Food on the table.

courtesy pixabayBe thankful for the things we sometime dismiss and overlook. They are all gifts from a God who loves us with an everlasting love.

We appreciate others expressing thankful hearts to us, right? Don’t you think God does too?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation. Psalm 100 (NLT)

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wish you well,

Sandy

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Gluten-free Can Can Chicken Recipe

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Using canned chicken and soup, here is a gluten-free chicken recipe for a super simple, very tasty one dish meal I thoroughly enjoy fixing and eating.

Pilot recently went out of town for business. Those of you who follow this blog know I am not the cook around here. Pilot is. So with him out of town, I had three options.

  1. Go out to eat
  2. Fix a frozen dinner
  3. Cook something I used to cook before Pilot and I married

(If Sissy and Chief lived close by, I would have a fourth option. Invite myself to their house for dinner. 🙂 )

I opted for door number three.

If you’ve paid attention to any of the recipes on this blog, you’ll also notice they have more pictures. Like I said … Pilot is our chef. He likes to cook multiple step recipes. Not me.

So the pictures you see are the steps it takes to make Can Can Chicken.

  • 2 cans (12 oz each ) gluten-free cream of chicken soup (I use Pacific and it comes in a box)
  • 2 cans (12 oz) chicken
  • 1 1/3 cup minute rice
  • 8 oz water (You could use the water from the cans of chicken for this)
  • Gluten-free French fried onions, or gluten-free rice chow mein noodles (The onions really do make the dish. I’ve noticed stores are more likely to have the gluten-free version near Thanksgiving and Christmas, since lots of people use them for their mushroom/green bean casserole that is so popular this time of the year.)
  • I add ground black pepper, but you don’t have to.

Combine all ingredients except fried onions (or noodles). Place in large skillet.

Stir to mix.

Bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce heat and simmer 7 minutes.

Top with fried onions.

There you go. Super simple and very tasty.

Enjoy!

If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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