Sunday, December 23, 2012

Three Trees...An Unusual Christmas Story

I read this story for the first time several years ago and it quickly became one of my favorites...

Once there were three trees on a hill in the woods. They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said, "Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I could be decorated with intricate carving and everyone would see the beauty."

Then the second tree said, "Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull."

Finally the third tree said, "I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me."

After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When one came to the first tree he said, "This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter,"and he began cutting it down. The tree was happy, because he knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.

At the second tree the woodsman said, "This looks like a strong tree, I should be able to sell it to the shipyard." The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.

When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the woodsmen said, "I don't need anything special from my tree, I'll take this one," and he cut it down.

When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay.

This was not at all what he had prayed for. The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end. The third tree was cut into large pieces and left alone in the dark. The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams.

Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.

Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn't think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man, and He stood and said "Peace" and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.

Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.

The moral of this story is that when things don't seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, He will give you great gifts. Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined. We don't always know what God's plans are for us. We just know that His ways are not our ways, but His ways are always best.

May your day be beautiful and blessed. Until we meet again, may God cradle you in the palm of His hand.  Ciao.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Recipe of the week: Braised Brussels Sprouts with Shallots

A few weeks ago, a friend made this for a work party, they were amazing!  She didn't have the exact amounts of what she used (come to find out her boy friend who is a chef at The Salted Pig in Riverside helped her a bit), so I played with the ingredients a few times and the last time I nailed it.  People ate these that don't even like Brussels sprouts!  These are a bit on the Asian side but go well with most things.  Let me know what you think.  A Votre Sante!

1 1/2 lbs Brussels sprouts
2 shallots finely chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic minced
1 bunch green onions finely chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

First, cut Brussels sprouts in half, then finely chop or mince the rest of your vegetables.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add Brussels sprouts flat side down.  Once they start to brown, about 5-8 minutes add the vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper, coating the sprouts.  Add the shallots, green onions, and garlic, sauteing until translucent, (about another 5 minutes) add red chili flakes.  Pour into bowl and serve, enjoy!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Signs in front of Churches

Signs in front of Churches

1. The best vitamin for a Christian is B1.

2. Under same management for over 2,000 years.

3. Soul food served here.

4. Tithe if you love Jesus!  Anyone can honk.

5. You can give without loving, but you cannot love without

6. Beat the Christmas rush, come to church this Sunday!

7. Don't wait for the hearse to take you to church.

8. We should be more concerned with the Rock Of Ages, instead of
   the age of rock.

9. Don't give up.  Moses was once a basket case!

10. Come early for a good seat in the back.

11. Life has many choices, Eternity has two. What's yours?

12. Worry is interest paid on trouble before it is due.

13. A man's character is like a fence.  It cannot be
    strengthened by whitewash.

14. K-mart isn't the only saving place!

15. Preach the gospel at all times ... Use words only if

16. Delay is preferable to error.

17. It's hard to stumble when you're on your knees.

18. What part of "THOU SHALT NOT" don't you understand?

19. A clear conscience makes a soft pillow.

20. The wages of sin is death.  Repent before payday!

21. Never give the devil a ride.  He will always want to drive.

22. Can't sleep?  Try counting your blessings.

23. Forbidden fruit creates many jams.

24. May is God's apology for February.

25. To belittle is to be little.

26. Don't let the littleness in others bring out the littleness
    in you.

27. God answers knee mail.

28. Try Jesus.  If you don't like Him, the devil will always
    take you back.