Last night we went with the Reed family to the Christmas program at Highlands. We enjoyed the singing, the message, and the candlelight conclusion. Pastor Chris talked about Jesus's names. I have never really thought about how the Christmas story really begins with God telling Mary and Joesph that his name was to be Jesus, and people would call him Immanuel. I have never really called Jesus, Immanuel. The word Immanuel/Emmanuel means, "God with us." It conveys the idea of God coming down in the flesh, mingling alongside mankind, subject to their brutality, while extending his love in bringing their redemption. So as Pastor Chris emphasized, Jesus has been throught it all...loss of loved ones (his earthly father Joseph died at an early age), stress of everyday life (he was a in the working world as a carpenter for 18 years), and extreme pain (crucification was the worst form of the death penalty). He knows exactly what we are going through or will ever go through. He has been there. So GO to him, he knows. Let him love on you this Chistmas, share your heart...he has been there.

Matthew 1:22-24
22All this took place that it might be fulfilled which the Lord had spoken through the prophet,

23Behold, the virgin shall become pregnant and give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel--which, when translated, means, God with us.

24Then Joseph, being aroused from his sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him: he took [her to his side as] his wife.

Isaiah 7:14
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Thank you Immanuel for coming to earth. Happy Birthday!

Santa Came!

Yesterday I got home from work to find a beautifully wrapped package that said To:Rayne From: Santa..hmmmm...after tearing into it (never was one for slow tidy unwrapping) I saw this...

YES!!! Thanks Santa! (aka my wonderful husband)
I can't wait to learn to use it. If you have any tips, let me know.
Now maybe I will have decent pictures to post!


Spiced Pecans

I have been making these like crazy over the holidays...perfect for parties, to give to friends, and of course just to have around the house!

from Frank Stitt's Southern Table

4 cups of pecan halves
1.5 teaspoons of Kosher salt
pinch of ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 heaping teaspoon dark brown sugar
1 heaping tablespoon of freshly chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 tablespoons olive oile

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the pecans on a baking sheet and
bake for 15 minutes. Remove and season the pecans with above spices,
butter, and olive oil. Toss together until the pecans are coated, and
place in oven for another 3 minutes. You want them toasted and
fragrant, but don't overcook!
(I doubled this recipe for some Christmas happies, and James and I
thought it needed more heat, so I added an extra 1/4 t. of cayenne and
black pepper, and they were much better)


King Daddy Sir

Today is my Daddy's (pronounced Diddy if you are from Selma) birthday. I wanted to wish him a very happy birthday. My father is awesome. He is loving, encouraging, funny (hence the title he used to get us to call him), and very wise. He is one of my biggest role models. Now that we both are dentist (or scientists as he would say), we have an even closer bond. It is so much fun to call him, hear about his day with patients, ask for advice, talk about a challenging situation, etc. He is a passionate Christ-follower. His love for Jesus and people is evident in everyone he comes in contact with. I am so thankful for him, and his love that has truly shown me a glimpse of my Father God's love for me. Happy Birthday!!

His Favorites...ice cream, cherry (the fruit and my mom), the civil war, (Gettysburg particularly) his bestest friend charlie, the western channel, bird hunting, alabama football..just to name a few


Crock Pot Recipe

As promised...

Tomato Basil Soup
Cooker-Large Crock pot (yes, get excited, easy!!!)
Setting: Low for 8-9 hours, or High for 4-5 hours
(recipe adapted from Crockpot cooker recipes)

1/3 cup of olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
6 medium size carrots, chopped
3 28 oz Italian plum tomatoes in juice/puree
Two 6 oz cans of tomato paste
One 8 oz can of tomato sauce
2 tablespoons crumbled dried basil
One 14.5 oz can low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoon minced fresh basil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Sour Cream for serving

1. Combine olive oil, onion, carrots, tomatoes with juice, tomato paste and sauce, dried basil, and broth in slow cooker. Cover and cook on high or low for above times.
2. Puree the soup using an immersion blender (if you don't have one ask santa for one!!), or transfer to a food processor or blender and puree in batches. Stir in cream and fresh basil, season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for about 15 min to heat through. Adjust to Keep Warm setting, do not let it come to a boil.
3. Ladle in bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream.


Sorry for slacking..

Hello to all of my blog followers! (yes all two of you) I am sorry for not posting lately, our computer at home is SO slow it takes me forever to upload pictures, so I just don't right now. We have had a great couple of weeks though...(in list form)
1. Decorated our first tree, not bad thanks to Shelia's (James's mom) contributions of ornaments

(not really our tree, but don't you love it!)
2. Chris Tomlin Glory in the Highest Christmas Concert, AMAZING...go get the CD if you don't have it

3. Friends over to the house for a dessert party after the concert, stayed up until 12:30 (very late for me!), lots of fun...had Holiday Spritzers and Apple Cider

4. Soup Night last Sunday, friends came over for some yummy butternut squash soup, tomato basil soup, and spoon bread ala Rayne (Mac would be proud)

I will post recipe's soon because they were quite tasty!