It's Working...It's Really Working!

I am here to tell you:  following the grief counselor's advice is actually working.  Imagine that. Will wonders never cease?

To review, I have been doing what I was told to do (a miracle, in and of itself...) in handling the Holidays during this first year without Momma.   Here are a few of the bullet points:

Red Lion Amaryllis
in full-bloom on the dining room table
 * Make or bake all of your holiday gifts. (Check back after the Holidays for photos on those...:)
* Shop by catalog or online in order to avoid the extra stress of the rush and crush of the crowds.
* Try to attend at least one special holiday event; fellowship with others is sometimes the best medicine for a grieving heart.
* Keep as many of the family traditions alive as you can manage.
* Start a new tradition in memory of your loved one. (More on this one in the next post.)
* Take time to be in touch with your feelings...you may find you are actually enjoying the holidays rather than just coping with them.
* Put a smile on your face...and you'll find one in your heart.


Christmas Tree...and Door Prizes
at the Master Gardener Christmas Party
12/8/11




Guess what? I have made the gifts, and shopped online (or on Tuesdays in the stores...seemingly the least-hectic day).  Mr. T and I have attended two concerts and a lovely Holiday party (photo, right).  I have written the traditional Christmas newsletter to tuck into the Christmas cards (still working on those...:), and baked some of the traditional goodies...all without tears. 

 OK, truthfully?  I did tear-up a little bit on the newsletter because I struggled mightily with how to address Momma's passing in a thoughtful and appropriate way.  But no tears actually splashed on the keyboard.  Honest.

 Following the advice has not only helped me manage my grief...it's even helped me feel some excitement and anticipation about the Holidays this year. 

 Now, I must admit that our "decorating" has been simple...compared to what is the norm for us:  one tree, a wreath or two, a couple of new nutcrackers for the collection on the mantle and the giant Nutcrackers standing guard at the front steps (tradition!), a few candles and some amaryllis blooms to decorate the dining room table (photo, above).  Duke Energy will probably send us a "We Missed You!" card, as our December bill should be considerably less...since we didn't put out all the usual exterior lights and decorations.  Of course, our yard won't be mistaken for one of the landing strips at PTI either this year.

Butterballs -
A Christmas Tradition for Us
And, my baking is subdued...for me at least:  a couple of batches of Butterballs* (picture, left; recipe below), chocolate chip cookies, and no-bake oatmeal cookies.  I made a big recipe of Spiced Tea mix...as much as my largest bowl would hold...most of that will be shared as gifts, but I'm keeping a large jar for myself. [Follow the link to a recipe similar to mine.]  Maybe I'll whip up a batch of Microwave Pralines. Possibly some Marshmallow Fudge.  Oh, don't get me started...:

Still and all, that hollow, empty feeling is being filled with the sights, sounds, and smells of the Season.  And joy is finding its way into my heart. 

Momma would be pleased as Rum Punch, don't you think?







======================================================
Butterballs*

 Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened (don't even THINK about using margarine...:)
1/2 cup powdered sugar (plus 1/2 to 1 cup more for rolling)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 T. water
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup pecans, chopped fine

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In the food processor, chop the pecans fine, almost to a powder.  Remove to a bowl, reserving for the next step.
  3. Cream the butter in the food processor.  Add the powdered sugar, the vanilla, and the water. Blend well.
  4. Add the flour, the salt, and the reserved pecans to the creamed mixture in the bowl of the processor.  Blend well until a soft dough follows the blades.
  5. Roll into 1-inch balls.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. These cookies do NOT rise or spread.  Remove pan from oven before any browning occurs. Allow to rest for 3 minutes.
  6. Roll in extra powdered sugar and place on a rack to cool.  Roll again in powdered sugar.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.  Enjoy!

*(Adapted from a recipe called Delaware Butter Balls in the 1975 Southern Living Southern Country Cookbook...one of my personal favorite cookbooks!)

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