02 December 2016

Femininity Friday: C is for Cookies!

Chocolate Chip Cookie by Renee Comet via Wikimedia
Dear Ladies,

The month of December signals cookie time for me.  The days here cool, the leaves fall, and sometimes, we even see some foggy mornings and a snowflake or two.  Yes, the time has come for aromas of vanilla, warm sugar, and spices.

I have my own collection of favorite recipes, of course, but it's always nice to try a few new potential favorites.  For those, I trust the folks at Betty Crocker.  I don't have any financial connection to Betty Crocker or to General Mills, but I do receive the Betty Crocker newsletter and several e-mails with recipe suggestions every week.  

Just a few days ago, I received a link to this message with several scrumpty cookie recipes, and I thought that you might be interested.  

Please keep praying for us, for we are not yet out of the woods; I promise to continue to pray for you all every day.

Agape always,

Link:  http://recp.mkt32.net/servlet/MailView?m=27217583&r=MTAzMDU1NjU2MjIS1&j=OTQwMTY2NzUxS0&mt=1

26 November 2016

More Reasons to Remain at Home with Babies

Courtesy of Microsoft
Dear Ladies,

I read with interest this article from Science Daily that related an astounding study about the benefits of nursing for at least six months to children of Hispanic and/or African ancestry.  That takes a real commitment on the part of the mothers, who are more likely to be sole parents than women of northern European heritage, according to the article.  

While I perused the article noted above, however, I also found this article advocating for paid maternity leave for women.  As long-term readers of this humble effort may remember, I believe that women have the human right to raise their own children, so I believe that "maternity leave" stretches for at least several years.  What caught my interest in the article, however, was the now-proven fact that being cared for by one's mother is healthier for babies.  That goes counter-culture here in the United States, where many (if not most) people feel that little difference exists between maternal care and "professional" day care.  

Please plan to remain at home with your children for at least the first three years, if not until they are grown.

Agape always,


Maternal-child feeding article:  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161122131934.htm
Maternal leave article:  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160330123502.htm

19 November 2016

I Need Help with Organizing...My Memoir (Post and Poll)

Courtesy of Microsoft
Dear Ladies,

For a variety of reasons I have decided to publish my several hundred blog posts plus other writings as a memoir, of sorts, but I am stymied as to its organization.

Based on my reading and research, I have discovered that three major ways of structuring a memoir exist:  time, topic, and theme.
  • The time organization seems to be the most common.  The writer commences at time point A and progresses through time point B, usually chronologically.
  • The topic organization centers on different aspects of the writer's life.  For me, that would be something like the labels on the blog: husbands, homeschooling, femininity, recipes, etc.
  • The theme organization allows the writer quite a bit of fluidity and may combine the time and the topic organization.  I perceive that some of the themes would run along the lines of  "Learning about Love" or "Becoming Beautiful", but I don't have anything firm theme-wise yet.
I would appreciate your participation in my poll.  Thank you.

Agape always,

18 November 2016

Femininity Friday: A Success Story and Cranberry Sauce for a Crowd

Courtesy of Two Hearts Design

My "Cranberry Sauce for a Crowd" recipe has been one of the most-read blog posts, and it relates to a success story. 

My student Angie writes the following Success Story, shared with her permission:

I took a Fascinating Womanhood class soon after I married for the first time, and I credit the class with the thirty happy years I spent with Rafael, who passed away three years ago [eleven years now--CB].  Unfortunately, Rafael's death left me angry at him, angry at God, and angry at women with husbands.

My daughter and I took Cynthia's Marriage Enrichment class, which helped both of us: my daughter's marriage improved and all the nastiness and bickering stopped in her home and I began to see myself as a happy, feminine woman again, not a dried up old widow.

Then I met Rick when he stopped me for a burned out headlight on my car.  His sweet spirit melted my heart, and when after six months of dating he proposed, I said yes.  We married and were very happy, and yet, I had a hard time trusting Rick.  He didn't do anything to cause that feeling of distrust; I just felt that way.  Cynthia asked me if I trusted God.  I realized that was the real problem.  I didn't trust God--my ultimate protector, provider, and guide--to take care of me if Rick failed, somehow, or if I was widowed again.  After realizing what the real problem was, I was able to move forward from that cold place of distrust to enjoy a warm, loving relationship with my new husband.

I am happy to report that Rick and Angie have been happily married for eight years this week.  Angie's daughter has now been married for twenty-four years, when their marriage was very much "on the rocks" when they took the class together.  Beautiful! 


When Rick and Angie married, they involved all their relatives and friends in their reception, something that Braveheart and I loved.  We contributed my Cranberry Sauce for a Crowd; several guests asked for my recipe, and I published it on my blog in November 2008. 

Five cups orange juice (not from concentrate, no additives)
Four envelopes unflavored gelatin
Three and one-third cups sugar
One-quarter cup grated orange zest (optional)
Sixty ounces fresh cranberries (rinsed and drained--remove any stems or squishy berries)

Pour the orange juice into a large pot and sprinkle the gelatin on top.  Allow to dissolve for one minute.  Place the pot over a medium burner and add the sugar, stirring to dissolve.  Add the cranberries and the orange zest.  Allow to cook for about fifteen minutes.  The sauce should come to a slow boil and lots of the cranberries should pop.  Place into a non-reactive dish (I use a clear glass casserole) and refrigerate until set.  Stir before serving.

Copyright (c) 2008 Cynthia Berenger All Rights Reserved. Please feel free to link to or to follow my blog, but do not reproduce any part of it in any way without my express written permission. Thank you.

11 November 2016

Femininity Friday: Reconciliation

Tea - Mary Cassatt - Public Domain via Wikipedia

Dear Ladies,

You may have heard about the election here in the United States this week.  The voice of the people has been heard, and Donald Trump of New York is our President-Elect.  The identity of the person for whom I voted is irrelevant; I want to be a fascinating force for felicity when others are upset.

The idea, it seems to me, is to bring people together for some low-tech, face-to-face amusement.  Nobody expects anything fancy from me, so the pressure to impress is off.  I am inviting friends into my home on a drop-in basis during the late afternoon and early evening hours on Friday.  We will set up two card tables:  one with a 500-piece puzzle and another with homemade molding dough and a Pictionary game (we mold the words instead of drawing them).  I will offer hummus, tuna salad, pitas, and chips, and a friend and her husband contributed a tri-tip for the slow cooker.   Everyone who attends will likely bring something to share.  Tea and tenderness, I hope, will abound.

What can you do to bring people together?

My goal is reconciliation.  I have friends whom I fear may never speak to each other again if they don't speak soon.

I hope that my little "woman-to-woman" ideas have helped.

Agape always,

04 November 2016

Femininity Friday: Inadvertently Rewarding Unwanted Behaviors

The Artist and Her Daughter - Vigee-LeBrun - Public Domain
I recently noticed something about myself.  I may be perpetuating unwanted behaviors without even realizing that I was doing so.  

Halloween saw me gather a little bowl of snacks (none of which were given out because we didn't have any trick-or-treaters),  and I reflected on how many times I have given myself a treat to goad myself out of a bad mood, to lift a blue mood, or to make myself feel better physically.  

Let me be clear: The treats "work."  For me, there is nothing like a hearty serving of something chocolate to make the hurt go away.  The beloved Braveheart (now of blessed memory) had his own recipe for "PMS Pudding" that worked every single time he prepared it for me.  

As vices go, chocolate is among the more minor.  As a mature Christian woman, I have to wonder if I should need some sort of substance crutch to overcome the ordinary challenges of life.  As a mother, I have to wonder what sort of example I am setting for the youngsters.  I wonder, too, how many times I may have "treated" them out of unwanted behaviors, in a way rewarding those unwanted behaviors.

In addition, I have noted that frequently the treats are foods that are not good for me.  Chocolate usually includes a fairly large sugar hit.  I enjoy crunchy foods, too, a favorite being salt and vinegar potato chips, not the healthiest choice for a woman who has been told to lessen her sodium consumption.  

The rewarding of unwanted behaviors can even becoming cyclical, I have observed.  I feel out of sorts; I have the treat; I feel unhappy with myself for succumbing to the lure of the treat; I have another treat.  Fortunately, this cycle does not occur often.

What can I do to change?  One idea I have had lately is to turn walking or extra Bible reading time into a treat, both of which would edify my spirit.  I could also give myself a non-substance treat of sending an e-mail to a friend, or I could take ten minutes to compose and to post a brief blog post.  

Almost anything would be better than hitting the leftover Halloween candy...again.

Agape always,

31 October 2016

It's a Fine Time to Become More Fascinating!

Sea Promenade - Michael Ancher - Public Domain
Dear Ladies,

During November, in gratitude at being granted another year of life, I am offering a half-off discount on my Basic Marriage Enrichment Class, making your cost just $20.00.  Offer expires November 30, 2016. 

Agape always,