Archives for : November2015

Quips & Quotes


In November our hearts turn toward the Thanksgiving holiday and the practice of being thankful. That is a wonderful thing! This quote speaks to how an experience of thanksgiving can happen every day.

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn, or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.           ~ Denis Waitley

~ MZ

Close Encounters of the Weird Kind


 Close encounters of the weird kind?

Are you dreading those obligatory holiday get-togethers where you’re thrown together with people you don’t like?

Here are 5 tips from an expert* for avoiding clashes with relatives and “friends” with whom you have nothing in common.

*The “expert” is not me.

You’ve probably heard it said that every family tree produces some lemons, some nuts, and a few bad apples.  You know the type—loud and obnoxious (especially after indulging in too much spiked eggnog), or maybe quiet and catty, but these relatives who have known you forever definitely know how to push your buttons.

They are inevitably from the other political party or religion, and they are out to show you up or set you straight.  They may remember all the stupid things you’ve ever said or done, and they have a knack for bringing up these embarrassing stories at the worst possible times.

Fortunately, King Solomon, who was much wiser than I, wrote most of the Bible’s book of Proverbs.  And though these wise sayings were written thousands of years ago, the advice contained in them is as applicable to life today as it was when this collection was first penned.

Here are 5 of my favorite proverbs for maintaining peace and tranquility at potentially contentious family gatherings:

  • Keep your cool! Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer quiets anger, but a harsh one stirs it up.”  Don’t take the bait.
  • Don’t argue. Family holiday gatherings are generally not the best occasions for debates on sensitive issues.  Solomon says in Proverbs 17:14: “The start of an argument is like the first break in a dam; stop it before it goes any further.”
  • Don’t engage with hot-tempered people. “Don’t make friends with people who have hot, violent tempers,” King Solomon advises (Proverbs 22:24).  It doesn’t pay.
  • Guard your words. “Be careful what you say…” (Proverbs 13:3).  Words heatedly and carelessly thrown out can’t be taken back.
  • Avoid gossiping. It can hurt others and can come back to embarrass you later.  Proverbs 11:13 says, “No one who gossips can be trusted with a secret . . .”


Verses from Proverbs are quoted from Today’s English Version.


P.S.  Some of the best advice my father ever gave me came from Proverbs 17:28 (the King James Version):  “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise…”

Happy Holidays!

By Sharon Sheppard


Pumpkin Bread


Pumpkin bread was an autumn standby when I was growing up. This moist quick bread recipe from my grandmother’s recipe box spoke of nurture through all the spices, flavors, and aromas. Today when I make this tasty bread, it reminds me to be thankful and resourceful–thankful for the gift of hands to gather fall produce, and thankful for the farm where I grew up and was so privileged to be able to help harvest.


Pumpkin Bread

2 cups flour                                                     ½ teaspoon salt

½ teas. baking powder                                    1 teaspoon soda

1 teaspoon cloves, nutmeg & cinnamon        2 eggs

2 cups sugar                                                    ¾ cup butter

1 can (15oz.) pie pumpkin


In a medium sized-bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients thoroughly. In a larger bowl, with a hand mixer beat together the butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until fluffy and light. Beat the can of pumpkin into the egg mixture. Beat the flour mixture in just until combined. Transfer to two lightly greased loaf pans. Bake at 375 degrees for 60-70 minutes.


(If you choose to use fresh pumpkin, cut the pumpkin into quarters and bake on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Puree the flesh to equal 15 oz.)




The Secret To Happiness

The Secret to Happiness

Here’s an early Christmas gift for you.  It’s one I discovered during the first months of widowhood as I grieved the death of my husband, best friend, and soul mate.  As I struggled to make my way as a single in a world seemingly designed for couples, I came across this passage in Scripture:

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  (I Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV)

Though these three choices are easier to pay lip service to rather than actually practice, I discovered that the more I tried to implement them, the happier I became.  It’s transforming!

Sharon Sheppard