Advent Joy: Pecan Tart Recipe

“And blessed is she who believed that here would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” -Luke 1:45

When I use the Favorite Community Recipes: White Horse Fire Company Auxiliary Cookbook, I remember the already and not yet of Advent.  The melancholy beauty we treasure in others when they are no longer here, is placed alongside the joy of creating a sweet, nutty treat to share with my family and friends who are here with me this Christmas season.

This cookbook is a treasured gift from my Aunt Mayme, who passed away December 7, 2000.   On the cover is a picture of the White Horse Fire Department in Pennsylvania, which was located across the street from my Aunt and Uncle’s house when I was growing up.  My Aunt Mayme had a special way of decorating her home that I still remember.  She also noticed that I loved to bake and gave me my very own cookbook.  It was the first cookbook that was “mine” on the shelf in my mother’s kitchen and I still use it today to make Pecan Tarts.

Pecan Tarts are also now a family favorite at Christmas time!

Pecan Tarts

Crust:
1 ⅛ c. flour
½ c. butter
1 (3oz.) pkg. cream cheese
Combine all the above ingredients and mix with a fork.  Form into 24 balls.  Press and shape crusts in small muffin tins or small cupcake pans.

Filling:
1 c. brown sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp. melted butter
¼ tsp. vanilla
¾ c. chopped pecans 
Mix thoroughly.  Fill muffin tins ⅔ full.  Baking time is 20 min. at 350 degrees.


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Advent Comfort: Hope is Alive (Luke 1:39-45)

“And blessed is she who believed that here would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” -Luke 1:45

While many of us are doing the things of this week with much haste, this familiar story of scripture offers new depths, promises and surprises when we make space to reflect. 

Mary and Elizabeth’s reunion is one of great joy. Something miraculous and unexpected has happened. Hope is alive. There is more to come…

The reality is that prophecy is only good news to those who are hurting.

Resurrection is only possible when there has been a death.

Hope is only an act of faith when we are in the pit of despair.

The welcome and warning of advent:

Things will change

It is not to be like this

It will not always be like this

Or as the carol proclaims: All is well. All is well. 

All manner of things shall be well.

Thanks be to God. 


Spread the holiday cheer! Share Some Comfort and Joy with your friends. Be sure to subscribe to be the first to know about our new series for 2023 and never miss a post!

And the winner is . . . 

And the winners are . . . 

Lois B. Miller and Jennifer Freed!!!

We’ll be connecting with both of you about your tea preferences soon.

Thanks to each of you for participating in our give-away and sharing Some Comfort and Joy with your communities. And thank you everyone for reading along. We look forward to celebrating Advent with you on Some Comfort and Joy this month.

Advent 2022 Series Introduction with Sugar Cookie Recipe (Luke 1:37-38)

“For nothing will be impossible with God.”  Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.” Luke 1:37-38

These verses capture the essence of the Christmas season.  A holiday that seems, in some ways, to suspend time for a bit as we recall the many traditions that have been passed down in our families and communities.  

We are surrounded by all that has gone before us, just like Mary who was a part of her own community and faith tradition.  Also like Mary, Christmas is a time to be reminded that God does amazing things when we least expect it.  And with Mary we marvel at the message from angel Gabriel, that with God all things are possible.

For the month of December, we will reflect on scripture passages from year three of the Women’s Lectionary  by Wilda C. Gafney and share recipes from our families’ Christmas traditions.  We hope you are drawn closer into God’s presence this season and maybe even enjoy trying out some new recipes.  

May this season of tradition also fill you with the hope of unexpected miracles.

My Great-Grandmother’s Sugar Cookie Recipe

This soft drop sugar cookie brings happy memories of my mother’s baking.  It is also one of my children’s favorite cookie recipes.  My mother, Catherine Ramer Stoltzfus,  made hundreds of these sugar cookies each week for market when she was a girl working at home on the farm.  The recipe was passed down in our family at least from as far back as my great-grandmother.

A few years ago during COVID, when we couldn’t get together for Christmas, my siblings and I, each in our own kitchens, made these sugar cookies over Zoom with my mom giving us instructions.

Grandma’s Soft Sugar Cookies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Beat together in a large bowl until smooth.3 c. brown sugar
1 c. lard
5 eggs
3 tsp. vanilla

1 c. sour milk
1 tsp. baking soda
Mix soda and milk together in a separate bowl.

2 tsp. baking powder
3 1/2 to 5 cups flour

Add flour and baking powder alternately with the milk mixture, into the large bowl with your original egg/sugar etc. combination.  The mixture should be soft and almost light in texture.

Drop by large teaspoonfuls onto dark cookie sheets.  Sprinkle with a cinnamon sugar mixture or with colored sprinkles.  Bake for 6 min. 

It is a good idea to try out one or two cookies.  If they spread too much and you have dark brown thin edges, add more flour.  The idea is to add as little flour as possible, while still maintaining a plump, soft sugar cookie.


Spread the holiday cheer! Share Some Comfort and Joy with your friends. Be sure to subscribe to be the first to know about our new series for 2023 and never miss a post!

Advent Giveaway

Every so often Sherah-Leigh and I have the fun of saying, “Thank-you!” to all of you our readers by having a give-away.  We know you each lead diverse lives.  We are thankful we have you reading along with us on this life (and writing) journey.

For Advent this year we will be giving away two Advent celebration kits.  They will include the following items: several tea bags, a field journal, one pen and a pen clip along with some fairy lights. (see picture below)

In order to enter we ask that you do three things:

1- Share Some Comfort and Joy! It could be with a friend or family member who you think might enjoy reading along with us, or ask if you can share about Some Comfort and Joy in your church bulletin.  Perhaps you have a work friend who would be encouraged by reading Some Comfort and Joy.

2- Fill in the information below so we can contact you if you win!

3- If you haven’t already, sign-up to receive Some Comfort and Joy in your email inbox!

We will choose a winner on Friday Dec. 2nd.  Sign-up today!


Spread the holiday cheer! Share Some Comfort and Joy with your friends. Be sure to subscribe to be the first to know about our new series for 2023 and never miss a post!

Coming Soon: Advent!

It is Advent: a season of preparation; a time of anticipation.

The concepts of seasons and remembering, of ritual and meaning making, are the foundation for Some Comfort and Joy– our free online devotional resource rooted in an Anabaptist-Mennonite reading of scripture. 

Following the liturgical year, we have written bi-weekly devotionals that offer a comfort (a reflection on scripture) and then later that same week a joy (a specific practice correlating with the theme). 

Most of the (liturgical) church year is considered ordinary time, which is fitting, as this is the way we live most of our lives: in the nitty gritty of the everyday. Laundry. Dishes. Bedtime and morning. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Repeat. 

But now, we move into the high holy days and special celebration of advent leading to Christmas. For this holiday season we invite you to join us as we explore familiar texts, share family recipes and embrace Christmas cheer. 

From Surviving to Thriving: A Blessing

You have probably heard it said (or uttered it yourself):  The days are long but the years are short! 

When in a situation where you feel stretched to nearly breaking, you remember:  This too shall pass. 

The reality of the challenges (and exhaustion) we face is:  This will not last forever, but it may be more than brief. 

And in these spaces of pouring out for others:

May you find comfort in the God who formed your inmost being,  who lovingly knit you together,  who ordained and ordered your days. 

May you find strength  in the God who is familiar with your ways, your needs who knows the evil and enemies you face, and in whom there is no darkness

May you find hope in the God who knows you and hems you in behind and before,  who is with you wherever you go, (even in the deepest depths and at the far edges),  in whom you will find the way everlasting. 

May it be so. 

From Surviving to Thriving: The Joy of Appreciation

“Are you so desperate for attention you need to act like this?!” I sputtered in exasperation at my oldest. After three days of doctor visits and scans my younger child had returned home with a casted arm. In the let down from anxiety and vigilance, exhaustion washed over my body. I had nothing left to give

All of us long to be seen. We want to be loved for who we are. We want to be appreciated, treasured. We want to be assured that our needs are not a burden to those we love. 

Take a moment today to bless someone today with the gift of being seen. Send a short text to a dear friend with words of appreciation, drop a just because note in the mail to an extended family member, or call a caregiver you know in your community and ask how her day is going. 

We hope this brings you some comfort and joy! You can spread the joy by liking, commenting and sharing this post with others. Be sure to subscribe and never miss a post.


Some Comfort and Joy was developed as a devotional resource that follows the rhythms and seasons of the liturgical year from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective.

From Surviving to Thriving: God’s Handiwork (Comfort: Psalm 139: 23-24)

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; 
test me and know my thoughts.
See if there is any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalm 139: 23-24

When we are in the midst of caring for others it is hard to see each person clearly.  As an educator, even after almost twenty or so years in the profession, I can become overwhelmed by the needs of the children I teach.  Learning to see each of them as separate and unique creations can be a challenge.

Each of us likely have people in our lives that are our responsibility and privilege to care for.  In different seasons of life different people take more time and attention.  

As we have reflected together over the last several weeks, being present as a caregiver requires a steady hand.  If we veer too far one way we forget ourselves and lose the ability to be present in a healthy and loving way.  On the other side of the road is self-absorption and fear.  Psalm 139 reminds us that we are each created, known and loved by God.

God, Open our eyes that we may see Your handiwork in ourselves and in each person we care for today.  We confess that sometimes we are selfish and fearful.  Lead us in Your way everlasting.  AMEN


We hope this brings you some comfort and joy! You can spread the joy by liking, commenting and sharing this post with others. Be sure to subscribe and never miss a post.


Some Comfort and Joy was developed as a devotional resource that follows the rhythms and seasons of the liturgical year from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective.

From Surviving to Thriving: The Joy of Radical Acceptance (Psalm 139: 19-21)

“O that you would kill the wicked, O God,
and that the bloodthirsty would depart from me —
those who speak of you maliciously,
and lift themselves up against you for evil!
Psalm 139:19-21

Practice radical acceptance this week with a meditation prayer. 

While sitting with your palms facing upwards, breathe in slowly and then exhale completely.  As you breathe in, imagine breathing in God’s love and acceptance for you.  You are God’s beautiful creation. As you exhale imagine sending out that love and acceptance into the world.  Breathe in, breathe out. 

We hope this brings you some comfort and joy! You can spread the joy by liking, commenting and sharing this post with others. Be sure to subscribe and never miss a post.


Some Comfort and Joy was developed as a devotional resource that follows the rhythms and seasons of the liturgical year from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective.