December 27, 2007

Praising God for the Thorns

This Christmas has not been what we had anticipated. My sister is battling a mental disease. I spent days trying to help her. I was wore down physically and mentally. My children witnessed too many horrid things, we simply couldn't get them out in time. Please pray for her as her very life is at stake.

I had over 550 new pictures from our Christmases taken on my new camera. I came here to blog some of the greatest ones, like the gingerbread house daddy decorated with them, I had days and weeks worth of stories to share with pictures and I was very excited. I pulled my chip from my camera and put it in my computer and alas, all was lost. I have no idea what happened to my chip but its empty. I cried and started to explode, then I remembered that the Lord has been dealing with me on my self-control and that my girls had witnessed enough turmoil so I bit my lip and decided to take down my Christmas Tree.

As we worked on that tree and put away all of our ornaments and decorations together, cleaning and getting our home back in order I thanked God for our Christmas and every blessing I could think of. I thanked Him for the thorns too, like my sister's sickness and my lost pictures because I remembered that God uses all things for His glory. As I did my heart felt lighter and my anger dissipated and I realized that I still had every loved one here with me that was in those pictures and that I could take more. When we moved our real yet very dead tree outside I realized something else....even though this tree was full of water it was very dry and brittle. My husband had been smelling a burnt smell the past few days and it was truly the hand of God that erased my pictures in order to guide me to take down that tree. Had I left it up until after the New Year which is our usual tradition I'm sure it would have caught fire. I cannot believe the tree was not drinking any water and the branches were so brittle they snapped off with the gentlelest touch.

I also baked a cheese cake after Christmas instead of for Christmas due to the emotions flowing through the holidays and I burnt the top of it. I could have screamed, maybe I did, I know I jumped up and down and finally accepted that all I could do is cut the top off. I did and it was delicious. You never knew the top was gone after I added the white chocolate ganache and poured on the homemade raspberry sauce. Yummy. I wanted to post pics but already know where they went. I will however post the recipe and say that if I have any cheese cake loving viewers that this recipe is a must.

My husband was home praise God!! I could not have made it through this tough time without him. The day after Christmas I was so spent I prayed and asked God to please give me more time with my husband and God answered. My husband is still here and is leaving in the morning! Prayerfully he will be home tomorrow night and not have to leave until next Wednesday.

I have much to be thankful for. My sister is still alive, my pictures can be replaced, my home is safe from the dried out tree, my husband was home for the holidays, my cheesecake turned out delicious, I exercised my self-control through the grace of God, God is speaking to me and using me and guiding my husband and myself. God has reminded us through all of this that we honestly do not spend enough time on our knees. God is merciful and faithful and He is a mighty deliverer, and that when I pray I pray in faith knowing He is fully capable of answering my prayers because He is the Almighty!!

I pray that all of your Christmases were wonderful and blessed. I'm looking forward to the New Year. God Bless You all!!!

Grand Finale Cheesecake With White Chocolate Ganache and Raspberry Sauce

1-1/3 cup fine vanilla wafer crumbs
1/3 cup melted butter
1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp of cinnamin (if desired - I do not care for it)

5pkgs of cream cheese softened
1-3/4 cups sugar
3Tbs Flour -plain
3/4 tsp grated lemon rind
3/4 tsp grated orange rind
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 vanilla
5 eggs at room temperature
2 eggs yolks
1/4 heavy cream

White Chocolate Ganache
8 oz white chocolate chips
3 tsp butter
1/4 cup heavy cream

Raspberry Sauce
1 bag of frozen berries
1/2 cup jelly (grape or currant)
1/2 to 1 cup of sugar (to your taste)

To prepare crust mix vanilla wafer crumbs, melted butter, sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. Press into bottom of springform pan, 3" deep and chill.

Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Combine next 6 ingredients and gradually add to cheese beating contantly. Add eggs and yould one at a time beating well after each. Gently stir in cream. Pour into prepared springform pan over crust and bake extremely hot oven 500 degrees for 10 minutes. Turn oven down to 200 and bake for 1 hour and a half. DO NOT OPEN DOOR ( Cheesecake will crack)

Turn off heat after an hour and a half never opening oven door leaving until completely cool. Once completely cool move to refrigerator while you prepare the ganache.

Melt butter, cream and white chocolate chips in sauce pan stirring with wisk and pour over top of cheese cake and return to fridge over night.

Take the bag of frozen berries and thaw them, squeeze them through a seive and wisk juice, jelly and sugar to taste. This sauce is very thin. Refrigerate and serve drizzled over each individual slice. Delicious and beautiful.


annie said...

Jenileigh, I so know what you mean when you write about the struggles, the feeling of defeat but the knowledge of God's love and power that is so much bigger than it all. I'm reading a new book called, "unleashing your faith," and it is really speaking to me about God's control. I had a melt down a week or two ago and quickly realized how small it was in the big scheme... the sister (I'll keep her in my prayers), the pictures, the cheesecake, these were all handled right by you. Satan tries to use the simple things to bring us down but you succeeded and praised God through it all. What an encouragement you are and what a wonderful example you are giving your children!

Bobbi said...

Avery beautiful post. I'm in are so sensitive and caring to the Holy Spirit...all I can say is way to go girl! Wish I could give you a irl hug!

chickadee said...

i'm so sorry you've had such a difficult time this christmas. it sounds like you've got a great perspective on things though.

Irritable Mother said...

I sing a song with the kids in Sunday school which has this line, "Things change when I stop to thank You." I have found that to be so true in my life. Yes, we can even thank Him for the thorns!

Penless Thoughts said...

So sorry to read about all these trials you have just experiences Jenileigh but we know "ALL things work together for good to those who are called" Romans 8:28 and I know that is you!!!!

May 2008 truly be a year of New beginnings for you and yours.

Jenny in Ca said...

wow Jenileigh, a really hard season for you, I am so sorry to hear about your sister, and I am so sorry about your photos...{{hug}}

much grace to you- He already is your peace and self control