Food for Thought,
by Minister Hugh Bradford

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the Government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Isaiah 9:6

God loves us very much and wants to bless us. To fulfill His promise, God himself took on human flesh and became a man, Jesus Christ. The meaning of Christmas is that Jesus came to save you.

Miss Roz’s Cupcakes, by Leslie Ansley

I kept debating what recipe to post this week, but always came back to this: Miss Roz’s Cupcakes. I recently returned from two weeks in Ohio. It was just me, spending Thanksgiving with Mom, who was diagnosed with stage 3B lung cancer in June. Mom’s good friend of at least 40 years, Miss Roz, was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer around this time last year. What are the odds, right?

Both have the same team of specialists, both have been going through chemo and radiation. Mom’s radiation treatments ended the week before Thanksgiving and last week we got the best possible news: Mom’s cancer had not grown, had not spread; had, in fact, gotten smaller. She’ll have another, more comprehensive scan in February.

Before my trip, the last time I saw Miss Roz was two years ago. She and Mom shared a cabin on my 50th birthday cruise. During my time in Ohio, I went with Mom to the hospital’s cancer center a couple of times and once with Miss Roz. We drove through all the ice and snow to pick her up from her house because unlike Mom, Miss Roz has difficulty getting around. And unlike Mom, Miss Roz had learned just weeks before that her cancer had grown.

On December 13, three days after I returned to Raleigh, Mom called to tell me Miss Roz had collapsed and was hospitalized for dehydration. She’ll soon be moved to a facility with hospice care, likely never being able to go home again.

Though grateful for my Ohio trip, I missed cooking for my family, especially since they’d had some “creative” meals in my absence. I figured I’d spoil them with their favorites and asked Skyler what she’d like me to make.  Without hesitation she said, “Miss Roz’s Cupcakes,” which is what I call them because years ago she gave me the recipe for these simple, incredibly rich cupcakes. Instead of being down about what’s going on, I choose to celebrate hers as a life fully lived. Miss Roz was steadily cracking jokes when I last saw her, and I imagine she still is.


1 box German Chocolate Cake Mix

  • 1 brick cream cheese
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg

Prepare cake mix as directed. In a separate bowl, mix filling ingredients. Fill paper-lined muffin cups 1/3 full, add a spoonful of filling, then top with more batter.

Bake cupcakes as directed on cake mix box. Makes about 24 cupcakes. Great with milk chocolate or cream cheese frosting.

Simple, Easy Ornaments, by Donna Wright

Creating your own, elegant ornaments is a great way to involve children in your holiday craft-making. Handmade ornaments also make great, personal gifts.

Lasting Lace

Small paper doilies hung with ribbon take on the lacy look of snowflakes, but last much longer.  I purchase my paper doilies from Dollar Tree.  They don’t always carry the smaller ones so you may have to look at Michael’s Craft Store in the baking section.

Gold Pine Cone Ornament

Tie individual pinecones, painted or left plain, to ribbons of varying lengths. Suspend them from a dining-room chandelier for a dramatic effect, or hang them from an outdoor porch light.  I hot glue my ribbons on, but you can also use a small tack, nail or straight pin (I’ve never tried those).  I love hot gluing because I can also add berries, greenery, etc., to the top, around the ribbons.