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A Merry Heart
A Woman's World
A Word in Season
Acting Up
Cyber Walk
Faith Seekers
Golden Apples
Heaven Bound
Just Between Men
Take it to Heart
Teen Truth
The Parents'
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The Treehouse
Through Their Eyes
'Tis the Season
The Joy of Family
The Rhythm of Life
We Are the Church

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Spending time with family members is a privilege and a blessing from God. And it doesn't matter whether that's the two- or four-legged kind. There is much love among pets and people and many opportunities for us to bond and to share moments of unconditional love and acceptance. I pray that during this month of January, you are enjoying many such times.

Teaching the Art of Bread Making
By Karen Treharne

Were you lucky enough to have a mother or grandmother who baked bread?

I was first taught the art of bread making by my mother. I would crawl upon a kitchen chair and mom would allow me to make my own tiny loaf while she made the big loaves for our family. I can still hear her voice coaxing and encouraging me when she said, "Use the palm of your hand. There you go. Rock just a little. Now turn it and fold it. Like this. Wonderful!" I would beam with pride.

The hours we spent together over the years were priceless. We laughed at ourselves as we became speckled and smudged with flour, we enjoyed the favorable comments that dad and my brother always made as we all gorged ourselves on the results of our labors Ö and I was blessed my her love and her servantĎs heart.

As I grew older I did not, unfortunately, carry on that family tradition, and in later years, friends and family members would offer to teach me Ö over and over again. And, periodically I would touch or knead the bread they prepared, hoping to rekindle my youthful enthusiasm Ö but it just wasnít enough to awaken a desire in me to put those lessons into practice. It is a regret of mine that has often plagued me.

My husband was in the bread industry for years, and we were totally spoiled with access to specialty loaves that most families were not able to enjoy. On occasion, I would go with him to the bakery and smell the processing aromas that filled the building to overflowing, and my longing for a slice of hot-from-the-oven bread smothered with dripping, yellow butter became overwhelming. Convenience, however, conquered the mouth-watering stimulus. It is my hope that unlike me, YOUR senses will be stimulated and you will want to consider learning and teaching the art of home-baked bread making.

Making bread today might seem like a foolish waste of time. Itís so easy to use a bread machine for instance, and when you can buy bread at the thrift store for next to nothing and freeze it, thereís not much incentive to make bread from scratch anymore. But the advantages are many, and Iím positive that youíll actually enjoy yourself.

Oh, sure, you may feel uncertain when you look at your recipe. You might even become uneasy if the dough seems to be too sticky or too weak. Your hands could falter during the kneading process. But before you know it, as if by magic, the dough will begin to feel elastic, your hands will suddenly slip into a rhythm, and when the finished bread comes out of the oven Ö well, maybe youíll even think youíre hearing your mother or grandmother saying, "Thatís perfect."

So, if youíre like me and can still remember the smell and feel of the bread-making and bread-baking process, itís not too late. Your children, like mine might be too old, but you can teach a grandchild, or a niece, or even teach a neighbor or two. Better yet, maybe a daughter-in-law would love to learn Ö just for fun mind you. Donít let them think itís a responsibility or duty Ė tell them itís a time to be together, to laugh together, to play together Ö and be blessed by each otherís company.

Show them that spending time standing side-by-side at the counter kneading dough, is quality time. You can talk or sing while you knead. It only takes ten minutes. And you can do a lot of quality talking and/or listening in ten minutes! But the most important result of being with one another in fellowship during those precious hours, is the bond and the special memories you will create that will last long after you are gone.

Family Prayer:

Heavenly Father: Thank You for family members. Those You have given to us to love and share time together with in fellowship. May we remember their worth. May we be grateful for Your gift of loved ones. Lord, may we honor You in obedience by honoring them. Be with those members who are far away, and keep them safe from harm. May we be together again soon. May we praise your name, Lord, for loving us so much that You gave Your life for our sakes. May we be reminded of this each day and pray our thanks in Jesus' name, amen.
Karen Treharne is the author of "Women Wearing the Baggy Pants", a newspaper article about clowns, and a soon-to-be published story, "Prom Night", in one of the FaithWritersí quarterly books. She is also the Editor of The Joy of Family. Karen and her husband have two sons, one daughter, and three granddaughters. They live in "God's Country", the Pacific Northwest, in Tacoma, Washington.

I have learned that though I am not a rich person, God has given me blessings that many in the world today do not have in abundance (a house, clothes, food, a job, and the freedom to worship my God without fear of punishment) (Jan Warrick)

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