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January 2016 Desktop Calendar

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"It is growing cold. Winter is putting footsteps in the meadow. What whiteness boasts that sun that comes into this wood! One would say milk-colored maidens are dancing on the petals of orchids."
Happy New Year to you all! I'm looking forward to 2016 so much. I've got lots of things planned for Found and Cherished, so stay tuned. Things will be changing around here, for the better. I, for one, can't wait!


Hugs + Pretzel Christmas Cookies

 Hugs and pretzel cookies have been a beloved Christmas tradition in my family for as long as I can remember. They're super-easy to make, and it's something kids can easily do. Speaking from experience. I was that little kid unwrapping all the Hershey's Hugs (and popping a few into my mouth), attempting to unwrap more than my sisters.

They're super-easy to make, which is probably why my mom liked having us help along—there's not much to mess up, and they taste amazing. So, here's the recipe:

What You Need:
-Square pretzels (pictures below)
-Hershey's Hugs
-A baking sheet

What to Do:
-Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.
-Place all the pretzels on the baking sheet, all even and flat.
-Put one unwrapped Hug on each pretzel.
-Stick the baking sheet in your oven for 2-3 minutes. You want the chocolate to be melted enough to be able to be squished, but not running everywhere.
-Take the baking sheet out of the oven. Then squish down every Hug with another pretzel.
-Let the chocolate harden. It's best to stick the whole baking sheet into the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
-Grab a glass of milk, sit down, and enjoy your cute and simple Christmas cookies!

All the pretzels on the baking sheet.
Pretzels + Hugs on the sheet.
Voila! Yummy-looking cookies, all ready to be devoured! Isn't your mouth watering right now?
Have fun and make these by yourself, with family, or with friends. They're something you can whip up quickly for a Christmas party or gathering, as a cute present, or just to keep for yourself! It's totally worth it! I promise. ;)



The Protection of the Lord

Sometimes God's protection doesn't look like protection.

He throws things at you. He lets you get into a car accident. He exhausts you. He allows you to get sick during finals week. He says, "You're going to be late today." You fall, and you glare up at the cloudy sky with a frustrated "why?!" bursting from your tired soul. But he picks you up with enough strength to hold onto him so he can guide you through the aftermath.

That's the thing about God. He sets things in your path that he knows you can't handle. Why? To protect you. God gives you things you can't handle so you'll rely on him to help you through. Your heart will be closer to God's. Your hand will be holding onto one of his fingers even tighter.

That's why he let death invade our world. He let us fall from perfection so he could climb down to our filthy world, take us into his arms, and carry us back up. He transformed himself into a helpless baby on earth to show us the proper way to grow in faith. As he went from babe to child to man, he matured into the perfect model of what we should become.

The best way to get there? Let him shake you to your core. We aren't perfect, and neither are our lives. We have ups and downs, given to us by a loving God who desires to make us more like him. We are his beautiful people.

"Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice."
Psalm 51:8

God will break you, but he'll do so to shape you into the person you're meant to be. He'll be right by your side the whole time, holding your hand as you balance on the slippery path you must travel. He'll protect you by letting you fall into the mud but not off the cliff. You'll be beaten and torn, but God will help you up and guide you through.

So how does God protect us? He protects us by giving us more than we can handle, and then supporting us when we can't go on any longer. We place our hands, our hearts, our lives into his, and he weaves us into a beautiful tapestry. We're safe in his arms because he'll never abandon us. He'll keep us safe by leading us to heaven's gates—to a beautiful, everlasting celebration.

Soon he'll open a door for you, and you'll step into a mansion with perfect floors, a sweeping staircase, and someone smiling, greeting you by name, caressing you tenderly. You'll be led to a bedroom with a view over a heavenly garden, a blue sky stretching above. A warm bath will be waiting for you, to clean the scum of earth off your skin. A soft bed for you to rest your tired body.

After you've slept, he'll be there, smiling. And he'll whisper, with joyful tears in his eyes, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." (Matthew 25:21) You'll rejoice in how far you've come, all thanks to your protector. You'll waltz through the night in the arms of your best friend, your savior, your father. And then you'll begin to enjoy an eternity of worship and joy.

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