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Advent | Week 1 | Tuesday

Tea Time Tuesday

From the time when my children were small, I’ve looked for ways to make special occasions memorable.  I crafted unique, creatively themed birthday parties (Veggie Tales Kitchen Science Experiments Extravaganza, anyone?!) and hosted large feasts for the holidays. Like most moms, I wanted my children to feel loved and celebrated and to give them a comforting sense of being part of family traditions.

However, I came to realize that it was too easy for me to get so caught up in entertaining and attempting to create “a moment,” that I could miss being present with my family.  When I later became a single parent, financial, energy, and time limitations made it even harder to create “exciting” occasions for them.  Those challenges slowed me down and presented the opportunity for me to become more thoughtful about the kinds of celebrations that I shared with my kids, which resulted in making me more intentional and aware of how to connect meaningfully with them.  As I allowed the Holy Spirit to speak to me about what was motivating me, my time with my kids became more about knowing and loving them than about trying to create meaning for them.

  • How are you tending your heart today so that you can connect with God and others?
  • When you were growing up, were holidays times of peace and connection or chaos and heartache? How did your formative relationships shape your ability to create and maintain healthy attachments with God and others?
  • How does that impact your ability now to be present in your life and relationships?
  • Trauma, grief, anniversaries marking loss, or strained family relationships can make the holidays especially painful.  Where do you need to re-shape your expectations to be more realistic, lament deeply before God regarding what has been lost, or give yourself freedom to do things differently in order live with integrity instead of demanding performance from yourself or others?
  • Take some time today to be still and listen to the Holy Spirit.  Share with Him where you are, what’s really true at this moment, and allow yourself to be present with Him, to let Him show you His tenderness for you.

My kids and I really enjoy our time in the kitchen, which we try to keep healthy as well as delicious, fun, and simple, especially this time of year.   I’ve included our recipe for an easy treat that is gluten-free, sugar-free, quick, and tasty.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Bark


3 cups of pecans

1- 9oz bag of *Lily’s milk chocolate baking chips

1- 9oz bag of *Lily’s chocolate salted caramel baking chips

Mediterranean sea salt



Melt milk chocolate baking chips in the microwave (approximately 1 min).

Mix with pecans, and spread on parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

Melt the chocolate caramel baking chips in the microwave, and drizzle on the chocolate pecan mixture.

Sprinkle with Mediterranean sea salt.

Put the baking sheet into the freezer for 5 minutes, and then break into serving size pieces, and store in the fridge in a sealed container.

*Lily’s chips are sweetened with stevia instead of sugar, but regular chips can be used as well.

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