Holiday Blues…Clowie…Christmas Cookies

It is just a drizzly grey day – not even 50 shades of gray – just uniform blah gunship grey and drizzly. Did I mention drizzly?? And grey????

I have a case of the Christmas/Holiday blues big time. My mom is in Florida and I will miss her. A couple of my friends have died this year and I miss them. Boohoo….waaaaaaaaaa

But then I talked a little bit to Clowie – she always makes me happy. Here is the website: http://clowiescorner.wordpress.com .  She’s been nominated for a bunch of well deserved awards and that makes me happy. Go and visit her. A definite smile maker.

She nominated me for the Inner Peace Award. That made me sniff a bit.  I didn’t feel peaceful, I just felt blah. But she said when she visited my blog, she felt peaceful.  I am very grateful for the nomination and the pat on the shoulder.

So like I said, after talking with Clowie abit, I feel better.  In fact, I feel like making some Christmas cookies.

Almond Shortbread Cookies
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 drops almond extract
1 1/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour, plus extra to dust
3/4 cup ground almonds
Zest of 1 lemon
Instructions
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the beaten egg and extract. Add the flour, ground almonds and lemon zest and mix until the dough comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead into a ball. Divide the dough in half and then roll each half into a log, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour (the dough can be frozen at this point for a later use).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove the dough from the plastic wrap and slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Place the cookies onto the prepared baking sheets and bake until golden brown at the edges, about 15 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for 3 or 4 minutes before transferring to wire cooling racks to cool completely, or just eat warm from the oven. FOR FUN: Drizzle with blue icing, sprinkles, sugar, or roll edges of cookies in sugar or sprinkles before baking

Have a blue blue Christmas!!!!

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Inner Peace Award

Bronze Star Medal; Decoration of the U.S. Military

Bronze Star Medal; Decoration of the U.S. Military (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

AjayTao and Clowie nominated me for this award and it is with great joy that I accept this award on behalf of my beloved Papa.  My papa was 16 when he lied about his age and joined and became part of the Third Army during WWII.  He was a sniper and earned high honors for marksmanship and a bronze star for valor.It is not however, his actions of battle, but rather his action of compassion that merits this award.  It was bitter cold in France.  Many of the soldiers had inadequate food, clothing, boots……because Papa, “Country” as his buddies called him, was one of those gentle, kind, funny, deceptively slow moving youngsters, he became a great favorite with all.

One day, he was in the mess tent grabbing a quick bite.  In front of him was a thin, shivering young man in a wet uniform, limping his way through the line.  Papa looked down and saw he was wearing wet, ragged socks.  During war and especially in winter, your feet are all important to guard and care for.  Papa asked the young man where his boots were and was shocked when he was told, “I haven’t had boots for several weeks, just socks.”  Then and there, Papa left the tent and went to the quartermaster and begged boots, dry socks, dry pieces of uniform.  He returned to the tent and gave to the young man who began to cry at the gift.  He asked Papa’s name and thanked him.

A few days later, Papa was going through a field of wounded soldiers for “clean up duty”.  He looked down into the dead face of the young man.  At the body recovery tent, Papa was called in and given a small bundle.  It consisted of a handkerchief, a bar of soap in army issue soap box, a stub of a pencil, and a New Testament stained with blood.  Inside, the young man had written that his belongings were to be given to my father.  “I have no family and he was more than a brother to me.”  I still have these items today, just as Papa handed them down to me.

Years later, Papa finally told some of the war stories.  He only told this one once and he wept the whole time.  He shook with sobs as he said, “At least his feet were warm.”

My Papa survived hell but with a tear in his soul that never fully healed.  In spite of this, he was a loving man.  Serene, gentle, funny….at peace with the world his God had created.  Birds were not afraid of him, all animals fell under his spell, babies reached out their trusting arms to him.  He spent his life loving and taking care of those who could not care for themselves.  His sapphire blue eyes reflected heaven and in spite of everything, you could look in his eyes and see peace and gratitude.

So this award is really for my Papa.  It was given to me by Ajay and Clowie – two other gentle sousl. T thank them for this award. I thank God’s grace for giving me the peace of knowing His love is constant, just like my earthly Papa.

May you all find peace within.

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