Saturday, December 10, 2016

12 Books of Christmas: CHRISTMAS MEMORIES by Fay Lamb

My children were very young when my husband and I bought our first house in our hometown. The Christmas Eve before we purchased the home, we drove through the neighborhood known for its Christmas Eve luminaries and the all-out decorations. Our boys had many friends who lived there, and as we drove through the streets and marveled at the ingenuity of the lighted spectacles, we spoke aloud our dreams of someday living there.

Our miracle on Ayshire Drive happened in June of the next year and not on Christmas Day.  My aunt, our realtor, showed us a nice little house sitting on the street facing a cul-de-sac. We toured the place. I fell in love with it, and my heart sank. The homes were just too far out of our reach. That’s when my aunt smiled and announced that the home was an assumable mortgage without qualification … and the seller was motivated.

My husband surprised me by placing an offer on the home, and the next Christmas Eve and for seventeen Christmas Eves thereafter, we lived on Ayshire Drive; we purchased our luminaries from the homeowners’ association in October; we went to the sand pile on Christmas Eve morning (read: sneaked onto a sandpit of the neighborhood golf course where folks would be hidden, their heads bopping up to look around to make sure the groundskeeper wasn’t scurrying toward us in his cart to chase us away), and we sifted sand into bag after bag for luminaries that would line our driveway and front yards. Neighbors would get an extra set of bags and candles to help out neighbors who planned to travel for the holidays.

On Christmas Eve, our family would sit outside, sometimes bundled heavily against the sixty-degree weather freezing our thin skins, sometimes in shorts and still sweating (this is Central Florida after all), and waving and calling out “Merry Christmas” while cars drove slowly by with their lights out and Christmas music blaring.

Later, when the traffic slowed, my husband and I would walk arm in arm through the neighborhood, the memories of each Christmas Eve stoking the warming fire that blazed in my heart. We live in a different neighborhood now, but not a Christmas Eve goes by that I struggle with the urge to drive to the north end of town from where we now live. Even now, tears fill my eyes because I miss that place as if it were an old friend I’d moved away from so long ago.  Yet, I know that God blessed our family with those many Christmases together. Time moves on and the memories of my boy’s laughter during the season only grow sweeter with each passing Christmas.

About the Author:

Fay Lamb is an editor, writing coach, and author, whose emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. For more information about Fay and her books, check out her author page on the Write Integrity Press website.

Before you go, you have to read through Fay's Three-Layer Brownie recipe. This dessert sounds decadent. Drool away!

Recipe: Three Layer Brownies:

First Layer Ingredients:
For First Layer (Brownies):
2 cups sugar
1  ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup baking cocoa
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

First Layer Instructions:
In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients; add oil, eggs, and vanilla; beat at medium speed for three minutes; Pour into a greased 13”x9”x2” baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for thirty minutes or until brownies are done. Cool completely (very important).

Second Layer Ingredients:
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour

Second Layer Instructions:
Cream butter and sugars in a bowl; add milk and vanilla; mix well. Slowly beat in flour. Spread over COOLED brownies.

Third Layer Ingredients:
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon shortening
¾ cup walnuts (for what I consider a fourth layer and highly optional)

Melt chocolate chips and shortening either in microwave or on low on stovetop (preferably stovetop); stir until smooth; spread over second layer.
Optional: sprinkle nuts over glaze immediately.

Also very important: Let the glaze set before serving.

12 Books of Christmas: 

You can win a copy of the first book of Fay's Amazing Grace Suspense series, STALKING WILLOW, along with 11 other books (US residents only) by commenting below and leaving your email address for us to add to our monthly newsletter list. (Unsubscribe anytime.) Here's a question you can answer: Family is so special at Christmas. What is one of your favorite family traditions?

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