The frost on the ground crunches beneath my rubber boots. I'm walking our two dogs, and my eyes still scan for the third we lost in November. My heart is still tender. It took a few days to realize that my eyes were constantly scanning to see her, seeking her distinctive red coat. It was as if she had gone missing, and I missed her so badly that I was still looking for one more glimpse. I find solace in the relief of knowing that our old Cattle Dog with the wonky ear and arthritic legs is at rest.
Cattle dogs have a distinctive bark that I describe as the sound of a polar bear attacking a seal. High pitched, unusually annoying, and unbearably shrill. It's not nails on a chalkboard. It's a 747 crashing into the RMS Titanic. Oh, I long to hear it just one more time!
I hustle my dogs inside and hear the Carol of the Cough that has hounded us since the day after Christmas. The sniffles and the blowing, the quest to uncover yet another pack of cold relief tablets and a ready stock of tissues.
The one-year diary I purchased some years ago with such faithful intentions now serves as a multi-year diary because I seldom update it. When I think of it, I simply write the current year next to the correct date and write my brief note. Christmas and New Years always gets an entry. Every new year I think, this will be the year when I remember to write down when things happen. I can start right now. I'll probably forget, but it's better to live in hope.
The first seed catalog has arrived and I am in my glory. Only a New Year's baby is a better symbol of renewal than a seed catalog on January first, so sayeth me. As a chilly rain drips by the window, I'm transported to warm barefoot days of planting and harvest. It speaks of earthly renewal, a timely message as the calendar begins anew. I can't help but wonder what will grow in my heart this year, what seeds will I plant that will bear eternal fruit? What a way to start the year, to know that there are unseen possibilities at the hand of a God who can make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:19)
I'm sure you have all completed your to-do lists for Christmas, and those with tasks gone incomplete have given up and moved on. Don't be a quitter! Bake one more batch of cookies. Here's a comforting chewy oatmeal cookie that has a wintry combination of sweet and citrus. I make them every year at the holidays, and plenty of other times because they are so good. These go great with a cup of tea and a seed catalog.
Note: This recipe makes a lot of cookies, I think around 3 dozen. You may want to cut the recipe in half.
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. orange extract
3 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries
In a mixing bowl, cream the sugars with the butter until mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in eggs until light. Stir in oatmeal.
In a separate bowl, sift the measured flour with salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir into oatmeal mixture. Mix in vanilla and orange extract. Stir in white chocolate and cranberries thoroughly.
Drop by the teaspoon onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes.