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Have you ever seen someone walk into a party that looked scared to death, unsure of themselves, and then watched them slink off to an obscure corner? Their body language screaming, “I wish I was anywhere but here!” Entering a room full of people that you do not know can be intimidating. I get that. Yet, your entrance is important in displaying overall confidence and portraying a strong image.

When attending a party, there are certain expectations we have of our hostess. We will enjoy and appreciate everything she has done, but we do assume there will be food and drinks. We would also like a clean bathroom and a home that does not smell like the local pet store. What some people forget is there are also expectations of the guest.

Giving a party, of any type, requires a great deal of work. If you have been fortunate enough to be included in a festive soiree, it is nice to arrive with a gift for the hostess. The typical present will cost between $15-$30, but there are less expensive things you can find at the local discount store.

Attire: Shabby Chic; Razzle Dazzle; Cowboy Couture


WHAT????

Word to hostesses: when listing the attire on the invitation for your party, make it clear. Do not let your creative thoughts have you writing a description that requires an interpreter.  We do not want to force our guests to solve a riddle to understand what is expected of them. There is a phrase I like to quote, “To be unclear is to be unkind.”

There is something special we feel when we receive an invitation. It is the anticipation of a celebration, the excitement of choosing what to wear, but more importantly, it is the affirmation that tells us, “I was chosen!” We know a hostess has responsibilities to ensure her party is a success, but did you know there are expectations of the guests? And your first job begins when you receive an invitation that says RSVP.

Do you believe there is a creator behind this painting, or did it create itself? I believe if I polled 1,000 people, 100% would say, “Of course, there is a creator. That’s common sense.” Do you believe there is a Creator behind this picture? If I polled 1,000 people with the same question, stats show I would not receive 100% agreement that there was a Creator behind this picture.

People are returning to work, which means many of us will be navigating changes that would otherwise seem mundane. Elevator etiquette? Did you know there was such a thing? Below are 9 basic reminders when riding the lift. I have thrown in a few exceptions while we live in a COVID world. 

Throughout history we have seen God place people in power that made us say, “What is He thinking?” Yet God clearly reminds us in Isaiah that the way He thinks is far beyond what we can sometimes understand. In a child’s eyes, a parent giving her yucky medicine when she already feels poorly can seem cruel. “Why would Mommy make me take this?” The child lives in her “here and now” moment of life, yet the parent sees the big picture. The mother knows what is best for the child, even when the child does not understand. 

Our 4-part series on living as Christians in a political world was written in response to questions I have been receiving on knowing how to separate truth from lies, when to engage in our political system, and the most effective way to stay informed. In Part 1 we learned the biblical formula for seeking truth. In Part 2 we discussed the importance of knowing your foundation. In this post, Part 3, I will provide you with 7 practical tips I use to find truth in our news driven world. 

We are living in a time where many do not know who or what to believe. It seems our national 24-hour news media seeks ratings more than they seek truth (regardless of which way their bias leans). Many journalists receive bonuses based on how many clicks their story receives, and companies earn more advertising revenue if they can show a high click-through rate on articles. It has become too common to read endless bait-and-switch headlines.

“How do I know what is real? How do I know truth when I see it? I want to stay informed, but where do I turn when I feel every news source is somehow deceiving me?”


Giving you tips on hosting a Halloween party during COVID is sure easier than tackling subjects on news, politics, and finding truth. Yet these are the questions filling my inbox. 

Does this blog seem early? Did you know we only have 10 weeks before we move into December? It is time to start planning!
1. Decide how much you can spend. If you have a $500 budget and 10 people you need to give gifts, then you can only spend $50 a person.

Halloween in 2020 will be different than past years, but there are still ways to enjoy this festive start to the holiday season. This blog may seem early, but October 31st is only 7 weeks away! It is time to start planning. Below are my top 10 ideas for a jovial and happy start to your fall celebrations.

  • Cecelia Zook

Chilled White Peach Gazpacho & Camembert and Fig Salad Taste Test




Happy Foodie Friday! This recipe comes courtesy of Penny and Eleazar Martinez.

www.thefrankincensetree.com

info@thefrankincensetree.com

We hope you enjoy!


There's nothing like a chilled gazpacho and fig salad on a hot day! These two recipes were a breeze to make and filled with delightful flavors and pair beautifully with a glass of Moscato d'Asti and Riesling. The gazpacho has ingredients that wonderfully compliment each other to make a light, sweet, yet tangy taste. My favorite part about this recipe was the unique balance of the vinegar, lime, hot sauce, and sugar. The fig salad is also incredibly flavorful with the bite of the blood orange vinaigrette and the sweetness of the fresh fig. Fig and prosciutto is one of my favorite pairings, and I was so excited to try them together in a salad. I was not disappointed!

Chilled White Peach Gazpacho



Chilled White Peach Gazpacho
.pdf
Download PDF • 2.40MB

Makes 12 Servings

Time: About 30-45 minutes depending on chopping skills


Ingredients:

*3 cups sliced, peeled fresh or frozen peaches (thawed)**

*3 medium yellow tomatoes, chopped**

*1 medium sweet yellow pepper, chopped

*1 medium cucumber, peeled and chopped**

*1/2 cup chopped sweet onion

*1 garlic clove, minced

*1/3 cup lime juice

*2 tablespoons rice vinegar

*1 teaspoon salt

*1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

*1 to 3 teaspoons sugar, optional

**Buy additional peaches, cucumber and tomatoes (about 1 cup of each), if you would like to add as a garnish.


Preparation:

*Place the first six ingredients in a food processor; process until blended.

*Add lime juice, vinegar, salt and hot pepper sauce. (Add sugar, if desired.)

*Process until smooth.

*Refrigerate, covered, at least 4 hours.

*Top servings with additional chopped peaches, cucumber and tomatoes (used as garnish, so may omit.)


Camembert and Fig Salad



Camembert and Fig Salad
.pdf
Download PDF • 2.40MB

Makes 5 Servings

Time: 30 minutes


Ingredients:

*4 ounces Feta or smoked gouda cheese, in pieces

*5 fresh figs, cut into quarters

*4 tablespoon shaved toasted almonds

*6 each thin slices prosciutto di Parma, cut into large pieces

*4 cups spring mix of lettuce

*Blood Orange Vinaigrette, as needed (recipe below)


Ingredients for the Blood Orange Vinaigrette:

*1/2 cup fresh blood orange or orange juice

*1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

*1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

*1 ½ cups olive oil

*2 tablespoons honey

*1/2 teaspoon salt


Preparation: *For the vinaigrette place all the ingredients in a blender and process on medium speed for 10 seconds.

*Pour into a saucer container and reserve until needed.

*Place all the salad ingredients in a bowl and toss to blend nicely.

*Place a handful of salad on a plate making sure to have 4 to 5 pieces of figs in each plate.

*Drizzle the vinaigrette on top of salad.


Recipe and Taste Tester - Cecelia Zook

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