Thursday, December 31, 2009

Alice's 2009 AWARDS

LIFETIME SERVICE AWARD (longest friend)? that would be JOY. I've known her her whole life and most of mine.


HIGH POINT OF THE YEAR? Hopie's salvation

LOW POINT​ OF THE YEAR?​​ spending Thanksgiving without my kids

BEST HOLIDAY? Christmas day with EVERYONE at Grandma and Grandpa Hughes' house

YOUR SONG FOR 2009? "Crazy Days" written by my neice Sally.

MOVIE FOR 2009? Faith Like Potatoes

WHO WAS YOUR BEST KISS? from David..who rarely gives his mommy kisses anymore


WHAT DID YOU DO ON HALLO​WEEN? spent it with my family and friends at BBC


BEST DECISION MADE THIS YEAR? finally accepting the past and moving forward to a brighter tomorrow.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR NEXT YEAR? be more Christ-like, be there for my kids whenever they need me, and of course, the usual, lose weight!!

TV SHOW OF THE YEAR? haven't really watched much T.V. this past year

MOST LOYAL FRIEND OF 2009? Lindsey Armstrong. ( I love you, Sweetie, and couldn't have made it through 2009 without you).


BIGGEST JERK AWARD? I don't know any jerks ;)

NEW YEAR RESOLUTION? diet and exercise

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT for 2009? Pam Jamerson giving me my 1st Coach bag! Thanks again Pammie! Love you.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

5 Tips For Loving Your Teenager


Jim Burns, Ph.D.

With teenagers in the house, there are times that most parents find it difficult to love their kids. Usually such struggles are brief; troubles resolve and emotions settle. Families get on with life. Yet, for some parents, living with an out of control or very difficult teenager is a daily ordeal. Some kids are hard to express love to - even though parents truly love them. Regardless of your life situation - parents can resort to shame-based parenting when their teenagers become difficult to live with. Shame-based parenting, when parents attempt to influence their children's behavior through shaming, nagging and negativity simply does not work in the long run, and makes it much more difficult to build an environment of love within the home. Shame-based parenting may gain an initial victory, but in the end, a parent's relationship with their kids will suffer. As an alternative to shame-based parenting, let me offer five tips for loving your teenager.

1. Place relational "deposits" in your teenager's emotional bank account.
Relational deposits can make
your kids feel loved and accepted even in the midst of discipline. Here are some deposits you can make:
. Saying "I'm sorry" to your children when you blow it
. Forgiving them
. Hugging often
. Saying "I love you" every day
. Speaking with a tender tone of voice
. Playing together
. Spending time together

2. Avoid making relational "withdrawals" from your teenager's emotional bank account.
Relational withdrawals teach kids that nothing is ever good enough for mom or dad, and result in kids giving up or acting out. Here are some withdrawals to avoid:
. Nagging
. Belittling them
. Being sarcastic
. Making negative put-downs
. Criticizing
. Screaming
. Heaping guilt on them
. Never saying "I'm sorry"

3. Affirm your teen whenever possible.
Most often, the difference between kids who make it and kids who don't is one caring adult. Even if you struggle with your teenager, I challenge you to believe in them! Most teenagers suffer from low self-esteem - and I almost always see this is cases where teens struggle with their parents. Low self-esteem is a vicious cycle that when left unaddressed creates an situation where establishing a loving environment within the home becomes much more difficult. Kids with low self-esteem tend to make poor decisions socially, in regards to drugs and sexuality - and academically. Kids with low self-esteem often act out rebelliously with their parents. Their move to a lower standard of behavior is often due to the way they perceive of themselves. These poor behaviors, in turn, create tensions in relationships between parents and their kids and vice versa. Parents can make a huge difference in their teenager's life by affirming them, praising them and believing (even in the midst of struggle) in the person they can become. When your teen has wronged you, forgive them. Restore them. Move on. (See the story of Jesus and Simon Peter in the Gospel of John as an example of this.)

4. Demonstrate affection towards your teenager.
Make it your goal to create a home environment of warmth and affection. You may rightly say, "Hey, I'm reading this article because I'm having trouble expressing love to my teenager. Now you're telling me to love my teenager. How is that helpful?" I understand your point. That's why I want to encourage you to take "baby steps" in this area.

Taking baby steps means that if you have behavior issues to discuss with your teenager when he or she gets home from school - wait. Instead, take your kid out for his or her favorite junk food. Don't bring up your issues. Instead, spend your time talking and listening to anything your teenager wants to talk about. Don't ask probing questions. Don't make accusations. Talk with your son or daughter the way his or her friends would talk with him or her. Your teenager, of course, will be waiting for the hammer to drop, but bite your tongue and don't drop that hammer. Keep the conversation warm and friendly. When you are finished, give your teenager a hug and tell him or her how much you enjoyed being together. You still have your issues, don't you? So now, after some hang-out time with your teenager, ask him or her when would be a good time to go over some of those issues. You'll usually get a better reception. Remember, baby steps.

5. Provide lots of encouragement to your teenager.
Don't withhold your emotional support from your teenager. Keep
telling them that you love them - even when it's hard to feel loving. Loving your teenager unconditionally is more than expressing feeling or words - it has much to do with action (see 1 John 3:18.) Build up your teenager. Strengthen them through your words and actions. Challenge them to become all that God has created them to be!

6. The Burns' bonus tip: pray!
If you are having a difficult time loving your teenager today, I challenge you to pray! God hasn't given up on your child - or you! Pray for your teenager! Pray for yourself - that God would give you the inner resources to help you respond to your teenager in ways that are helpful and loving (which often times means setting boundaries and providing consistent discipline, by the way.) Never forget that God loves your teenager even more than you do, and that He is faithful and able to work in your son or daughter's life - in His own perfect timing.

A Newborn's Conversation With God

A baby asked God, "They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow,
but how am I going to live there being so small and helpless?"

God said, "Your angel will be waiting for you and will take care of you.."

The child further inquired, "But tell me, here in heaven I don't have
to do anything but sing and smile to be happy."

God said, "Your angel will sing for you and will also smile for you.
And you will feel your angel's love and be very happy."

Again the small child asked, "And how am I going to be able to understand
when people talk to me if I don't know the language?"

God said, "Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words
you will ever hear, and with much patience and care, your angel will
teach you how to speak."

"And what am I going to do when I want to talk to you?"

God said, "Your angel will place your hands together and will teach
you how to pray."

"Who will protect me?"

God said, "Your angel will defend you even if it means risking its life."

"But I will always be sad because I will not see you anymore."

God said, "Your angel will always talk to you about Me and will teach
you the way to come back to Me, even though I will always be next to you.."

At that moment there was much peace in Heaven, but voices from Earth
could be heard and the child hurriedly asked, "God, if I am to leave
now, please tell me my angel's name.."

God said, You will simply call her, "Mom."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gingerbread Tree

  • DOUGH:
  • 1-1/3 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1-1/3 cups molasses
  • 2 cups cold butter, cubed
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 7-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, divided
  • 6 tablespoons meringue powder, divided
  • 10 tablespoons warm water, divided
  • Edible glitter
  • Candy of your choice
  • Dark chocolate and white candy coating, melted
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Waxed paper
  • Scissors
  • Cookie cutters—round (2-1/2 inches, 2 inches and 1-1/2 inches) and star-shaped (3 inches, 2 inches and 1 inch)
  • #101 petal pastry tip

  • To create star templates: With a pencil and ruler, draw five-pointed stars on sheets of waxed paper, labeling each template with its dimensions. Draw an 8-1/2-in. star, 8-in. star, 7-1/2-in. star, 7-1/4-in. star, 6-3/4-in. star, 6-in. star and 4-1/2-in. star. Cut out with scissors and set aside.
  • To make dough: In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring brown sugar and molasses just to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; stir in butter until melted. Stir in eggs until blended. Combine the remaining dough ingredients; stir into brown sugar mixture. Divide dough into four portions.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion to 1/4-in. thickness. Using templates, cut one 8-1/2-in. star, two 8-in. stars, one 7-1/2-in. star, two 7-1/4-in. stars, one 6-3/4-in. star, two 6-in. stars and one 4-1/2-in. star. Place on greased baking sheets. Bake at 325° for 12-15 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  • Cut two circles using a floured 2-1/2-in. round cookie cutter. Cut 12 circles using a floured 2-in. round cookie cutter. Cut two circles using a floured 1-1/2-in. round cookie cutter. Cut remaining dough using floured star-shaped cookie cutters. Reroll scraps. Place on greased baking sheets. Bake at 325° for 10-12 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  • For one batch of icing: In a large bowl, combine 3-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, 3 tablespoons meringue powder and 5 tablespoons water; beat on low speed just until combined. Beat on high for 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Keep icing covered at all times with a damp cloth. If necessary, beat again on high speed to restore texture.
  • To assemble: With icing and round cookies, make six large sandwich cookies and one small sandwich cookie. Let stand for 15 minutes or until set.
  • Place the 8-1/2-in. star on a serving plate. Spread a small amount of icing onto center of star; top with an 8-in. star. Spread a small amount of icing onto center of star; top with a large sandwich cookie. Spread a small amount of icing onto sandwich cookie; top with remaining 8-in. star. Let stand for 15 minutes or until set.
  • Repeat with remaining icing, sandwich cookies and stars, building tree using the largest stars and sandwich cookies first. After each star is added, let stand for 15 minutes or until set.
  • To decorate: Prepare a second batch of icing. Cut a small hole in the corner of a pastry or plastic bag; insert #101 petal tip. Fill bag with icing. Decorate tree as desired with icing, edible glitter and candy. Decorate a 2-in. star cookie as desired; secure on the treetop with icing.
  • To decorate small star cookies: Dip cookies in melted candy coating; place on waxed paper and let stand until set. Sprinkle white cookies with edible glitter. Leave some cookies plain if desired. Gently place cookies onto tree branches and on the serving platter. Yield: 1 gingerbread tree and 3 dozen small star cookies.