A Kiss from Heaven...


After Thanksgiving, I determined to make wiser choices, whenever possible, about time and energy depleting activities over the holidays. I've tried to pace myself throughout the week - shopping, crafting and decorating, as well as housekeeping - little by little. My grandsons have come for frequent and overnight visits lately, and as much as I delight in having them here, I don't know how I would have managed without Emily. The boys adore their Auntie Em (aka Minna), and respect her authority more than they do mine.

Mr. Cardinal

The same cardinal pair visit the feeders in the backyard several times a day. They must have a nest in the thickets by the creek.

Mrs. Cardinal

Their behavior is so predictable. They wait for the goldfinches to come to the feeders, and when they think it is safe, they fly into the backyard one at a time, all the while calling back and forth to each other.

No more room

The goldfinches are entertaining, as well. Usually only a few of them will come to a feeder at first, but then dozens will fly in and watch from the branches of the sweetgum trees before they begin bickering over a perch until they've had their fill and scatter.

With apologies to my snowed-in northern friends, I love winter. Love it - the cool mornings to leisurely savor a bowl of creamy oatmeal dotted with cranberries and a large Christmasy mug of hazelnut creme coffee while watching the goldfinches and cardinals from my backyard swing.

I've been very nostalgic this Christmas - missing my parents, my mother especially. I miss her hugs, her laughter, her love...and her datenut rolls. Of all the treats mother made at Christmas, her datenut rolls were my favorite, and I've been longing for them for weeks.

In one of my more melancholic moods this week, I reflected on the many things I had failed to learn from my mother while she was still with us - like how to make datenut rolls. I'm sure that I could find a recipe almost anywhere, but it was my mother's recipe that I wanted.

That's when it came to me - the vague memory that Mother had given me the recipe for something I'd long ago tucked into a recipe box I rarely used. I pulled the small box off the kitchen shelf and began thumbing through the stack of recipe cards inside. 

The box had been a wedding gift, filled with dozens of recipes from co-workers and friends, but I had only used one or two recipes from that box in the past thirty years. Near the bottom of the stack were two cards unlike the rest. The recipes were typed, instead of written by hand, and I instinctively knew that they had to be from my mother. The first was for baked cheese grits and the other was for datenut rolls.

It was a kiss from heaven.