November 29, 2009

Slow-Cooked Greek Pork

Slow-Cooked Greek Pork
Slow-Cooked Greek Pork
Makes: 10 – 12 servings
Created by The MDM Team, Monday, January 21, 2008
This great-tasting Greek offering is chock full of those popular staples like tomatoes, feta cheese and Kalamata olives. Go Greek tonight.
4 lb. boneless pork loin roast
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Trim the excess fat from pork. Heat oil in a 10 or 11-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook pork 8 to 10 minutes, turning every two minutes until brown on all sides; place pork in a 12 to 6 quart slow cooker and put broth, garlic, oregano, salt pepper on top. Cover cooker and set to “low” heat setting for 7 to 9 hours or until pork is tender. Remove pork from cooker and place on a serving platter. Spoon tomatoes, olives and feta on top of pork and serve immediately.
Additional Tips
Ready in 10 hours

November 28, 2009

Bacon & Cheese Biscuits Casserole

Bacon & Cheese Biscuits Casserole
Bacon & Cheese Biscuits Casserole
Makes: 6 servings
Created by The MDM Team, Monday, January 21, 2008
Bacon, diced onions and bell peppers with shredded cheese are all melted in a golden biscuit crust. Enjoy this mouthwatering meal morning, noon or night.
3 cans (tube pkg.) biscuits
1/2 lb. bacon
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced bell peppers
1/2 lb. shredded cheese
1/4 cup butter melted

Cut bacon into 1/4-inch pieces and fry. Add onions and bell peppers. Fry until peppers are soft. Cut raw biscuits into quarters; place biscuits into a mixing bowl. Add bacon, peppers, onions, cheese, and butter. Mix well. Butter a loaf pan; place biscuit mix into buttered pan, and pat down. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Loosen edges and turn out onto plate.
Additional Tips
Ready in 1 hour

November 27, 2009

Classic Turkey Soup

Classic Turkey Soup
Classic Turkey Soup
Makes: 16 servings
Created by The MDM Team, Saturday, February 23, 2008
You and your guests are sure to gobble up this turkey soup. It's the perfect way to put your leftovers to good use. Plus, it's lite as a feather!
  • 6 lb. turkey breast with bones (with at least 2 cups of meat)
  • 2 medium onions
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 3 carrots, peeled
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. dried sage
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 lb. Italian pastina or pasta

  1. Place turkey breast in large 6-quart pot; cover with water until at least three quarters full.
  2. Peel onions, cut into large pieces, and add to pot; wash celery stalks and carrots, slice, and add to pot.
  3. Simmer covered for about 2 1/2 hours.
  4. Remove carcass from pot and divide soup into smaller, shallower containers for quick cooling in refrigerator.
  5. After cooling, skim off fat.
  6. While soup cools, remove remaining meat from turkey carcass and cut into pieces.
  7. Add turkey meat to skimmed soup, along with herbs and spices.
  8. Bring to boil and add pastina; continue cooking on low boil for about 20 minutes, until pastina is done. Serve at once or refrigerate for later reheating.

November 26, 2009

Heart Healthy Mushroom & Herbs Stuffing

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends :)

Heart Healthy Mushroom & Herbs Stuffing
Heart Healthy Mushroom & Herbs Stuffing
Makes: 4 servings
Created by The MDM Team, Monday, January 14, 2008
All stuffing is not created equal, especially this gourmet mushroom and herb stuffing. This is a tasty, tempting treat of a side dish.
Vegetable oil spray
1 tbsp. butter, unsalted
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 1 1/2-quart casserole with vegetable oil spray. Melt butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onions and mushrooms and sauté about 5 minutes, or until soft. In a medium bowl, combine onion-mushroom mixture, breadcrumbs, thyme, basil and black pepper. Add chicken broth and mix well. Place in prepared casserole and bake uncovered 30 minutes.
Additional Tips
Ready in 45 min

November 25, 2009

Low-Fat Pumpkin Pie

Low-Fat Pumpkin Pie
Low-Fat Pumpkin Pie
Serves: 8
Created by The MDM Team, Sunday, October 28, 2007
Peter won't be the only pumpkin eater when you serve up this decadent dessert. Even more tantalizing is the fact it's low-fat.
1 (15 oz.) can solid pack pumpkin
1 (14 oz.) can fat free sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 (9 inch) unbaked pastry shell
In a large mixing bowl, combine the first seven ingredients; beat just until smooth. Pour into pastry shell. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees; bake 25-30 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Store in the refrigerator.

November 23, 2009

Whole Grain Dinner Rolls

Whole Grain Dinner Rolls
Whole Grain Dinner Rolls
Created by The MDM Team, Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Rolls baby rolls. These whole grain dinner rolls are the perfect way to polish off a healthy meal. Skip the store-bought brands and opt for these homemade offerings.
1 cup water
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats, uncooked
2 packages dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
2 1/4-2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Combine water, honey, and butter in a small saucepan; heat until butter melts. Cool until really warm, but not hot. Combine wheat flour, oats, yeast, and salt in a large mixing bowl; stir well. Gradually add hot liquid mixture, beating at low speed of an electric mixer 1 minute. Add egg, and beat an additional 2 minutes at medium speed. Gradually add flour to make soft dough. Turn dough out onto a heavily floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes). Shape dough into 24 balls; place in a lightly greased 13x9x2 inch pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

November 21, 2009

Turkey Gravy

Turkey Gravy

Serves: 16
Created by The MDM Team, Sunday, December 9, 2007
There are many recipes for gravy out there but nothing goes better with a roasted turkey than this savory sauce. It's a guaranteed winner at all holiday celebrations.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Rosemary Roast Turkey drippings
5 cups turkey stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper

In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over high heat, stir flour until it's a medium-brown color, 6 to 7 minutes. If making ahead, pour into a jar and cover. Add toasted flour to drippings in a medium saucepan, bring the turkey stock and wine to a boil. Set pan over high heat and stir, scraping drippings free, until gravy boils vigorously, then simmer and stir 4 to 5 more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

November 20, 2009

Some days you just need prayers

You don't know what to ask for or how to ask it, and some people don't know exactly who to pray to, but you just need prayers.

You want someone to pray for you, yet you don't want them to know the situation, but you still need prayers.

Ever have those feelings?

Feel free to ask below. If you want to tell us why and what, go ahead, but you are not required to.

November 19, 2009

Steak and Cheese Egg Rolls

Steak and Cheese Egg Rolls

Makes: 8 egg rolls

Created by The MDM Team, Tuesday, October 30, 2007
It's a wrap! These steak and cheese egg rolls are all it takes to make a great meal. Let the good times roll with these homemade goodies.

3-4 slices Steak-ums
1/4 cup sliced onions
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 tbsp. milk
1 cup cheddar cheese
Egg roll wraps
Vegetable oil (for deep frying)

In a frying pan, cook the steak-umm and onion in two tbsp. of vegetable oil and
season with salt and pepper.
Once cooked, chop up the steak and onion. Set aside in bowl.
Whisk together the milk and egg to form an egg-wash.
Brush the edges of the wrapper with the egg-wash.
Place two spoonfuls of the steak and onion in the center of the wrapper.
Generously sprinkle with cheese.
Fold according to directions. Set aside. Fill and fold the other wrappers and deep fry for 2 1/2 minutes.

November 18, 2009

Crawfish Cakes

Crawfish Cakes

Makes: 4 servings - 8 cakes

Created by The MDM Team, Friday, December 21, 2007
When you're in the mood for something fishy, why not take a crack at these crawfish cakes? Served with a mayo-pesto sauce, they're simply swimming in goodness.


1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp. pesto sauce

1 lb. frozen crawfish, thawed and chopped
1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp. pesto sauce
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp. olive oil

In a small bowl, combine sauce ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until serving time. In a large bowl, combine all cakes ingredients except oil. Using 1/3 cup of mixture each, shape into patties. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the tiny cakes to skillet, cooking 4-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve cakes topped with sauce or cocktail sauce.
Additional Tips
Ready in 20 min

November 17, 2009

Cheese Tortellini with Vegetables

Cheese Tortellini with Vegetables

Makes: 3 Servings

Created by The MDM Team, Sunday, December 16, 2007
There's cheese tortellini and then there's this enhanced version of the Italian classic. Prepared with a host of palatable ingredients, this dish will go down as a keeper.

9 oz. cheese tortellini, frozen
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, sliced
1 large red pepper, sliced
2 tbsp. sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2 cup broccoli, chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh
1 tbsp. tarragon
3 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated

Spray a nonstick skillet with non-fat cooking spray. On medium heat, sauté onion and pepper for about 10 minutes. Stir in chopped broccoli. Pour in the lemon juice and wine. Add the tarragon. Cover and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes. Prepare tortellini according to package directions while veggies are cooking. Stir the olive oil and sun-dried tomatoes with the veggie mixture. Serve over prepared tortellini.

November 16, 2009

Greek Farfalle Pasta

Greek Farfalle Pasta

Makes: 1 serving

Created by The MDM Team, Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Spring into action with this popular pasta dish. The kalamata olives and sun-dried tomatoes lend so much flavor that it's a hit for eaters young, old and anywhere in between.

4 oz. Farfalle pasta
4 Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced in half
1-2 tbsp. sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
Olive oil, chili flavored preferred (just a drizzle)
1 tbsp. pesto sauce
Dried chili pepper flakes
Parmesan cheese, grated

Cook farfalle in boiling salted water until al dente, approximately 12 minutes; meanwhile, cut olives and tomatoes. Drain pasta and place back into cooking pot. Stir in olives, tomatoes, pesto, oil, and pepper flakes. Add cheese.
Additional Tips
Ready in 15 min

November 15, 2009

Champagne Turkey (sounds easy & good!)

Champagne Turkey

Makes: 12 servings

Created by The MDM Team, Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Raise a toast to this titillating turkey dish. The bubbly gives it an added taste of gourmet goodness. Stay abreast of this dish.

1 bottle champagne
12 lb. turkey
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 cups water

Clean and dry the turkey. Put turkey breast down on roasting pan. Pour the entire bottle of champagne over the turkey. Sprinkle turkey with salt, garlic salt and pepper. Add water. Roast at 375 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Remove pan from oven and turn turkey on its back. Finish roasting for 1 1/2 hours or more.
Additional Tips
Ready in 3 hours

November 14, 2009

Raw Veggie Salad

Raw Veggie Salad

Makes: 10

Created by The MDM Team, Friday, October 26, 2007
Veg out tonight with this scrumptious raw veggie salad, chock full of great-tasting ingredients. Enjoy this medley of palate-pleasing produce for a stellar side dish.

4 cups broccoli florets
1 cup chopped celery
1 (10 oz.) package frozen green peas, thawed
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 cup seedless green grapes
1 cup seedless red grapes
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tbsp. grated onion
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

In a large bowl, toss together broccoli, celery, peas, cranberries, green onions, green grapes, red grapes, and almonds. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt, vinegar, grated onion, Parmesan cheese, and mayonnaise. Pour dressing over the salad. Gently toss to coat.
Additional Tips

No cooking needed

November 13, 2009

Creamy Sweet Potato Salad

Creamy Sweet Potato Salad

Makes: 8 servings

Created by The MDM Team, Friday, January 11, 2008
You say potato -- we say it's time to give this sweet treat a try. A twist from the traditional tater salads, this one uses sweet potatoes.

2 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins

Place potatoes into a large saucepan, and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 8 minutes, or until tender. Drain, and cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and brown sugar. Stir in the sweet potatoes, walnuts and raisins until evenly coated. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
Additional Tips
Ready in 1 hour 30 min

November 11, 2009

Potato-Crusted Veal & Beef Loaf

Potato-Crusted Veal & Beef Loaf

Makes: 4-6 servings

Created by The MDM Team, Monday, January 21, 2008
It's not just veal. And it's not just beef. It's a marvelous combination of these mouthwatering meats that's crusted in potatoes.

1 large yellow onion
1 large green bell pepper
1 large red bell pepper
3 garlic cloves
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb. ground veal
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup bottled chili sauce
1 cup seasoned dry breadcrumbs, divided
1 1/2 cups fat free cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 lb. russet baking potatoes, peeled, cooked, kept hot
1/4 cup chives, minced
2 tbsp. butter, unsalted and melted

Preheat the broiler. Place the onion, bell peppers and garlic cloves on a baking sheet. Broil 3 inches from heat for 7 minutes or until blackened, turning frequently. Transfer to a paper bag, close tightly and let stand 15 minutes or until soft. Scrape off outside skins. Chop the onion and garlic; seed and chop the peppers. You will have about 2 cups of vegetables. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 13x9x3 inch-baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix the beef, veal, vegetables, egg, chili sauce, breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup of the cheese and the black pepper. Mix with your hand until well combined. Transfer to the baking dish and pat into a 12x7 inch loaf, mounding it slightly in the center. In a small bowl, with an electric mixer set on medium-high, whip the hot potatoes with the remaining 1 cup of cheese, the chives and the butter until fluffy and pipe or spoon on top and sides of the loaf. Bake for 1 hour or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the meat loaf registers 145. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Additional Tips
Ready in 1½ hour

November 05, 2009

Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower Rice

Makes: 8 servings

Created by The MDM Team, Monday, December 10, 2007
Most people don't realize that there are plenty of ways to prepare cauliflower besides the old stand-bys. This gourmet rice dish is just one of them.

2 cups Basmati rice
3 1/4 cups water
1 1/2 tsp. butter
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cumin
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
10 whole cloves
1 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (optional)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 cauliflower, in 1-inch florets (about 1 lb.)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, with stems

To prepare the rice: Wash rice twice in cold water. Soak rice in 3 cups of water for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain rice. In a medium pot with a lid, combine rice, 3 1/4 cups of water, butter and salt on high heat. As soon as the rice starts to boil vigorously, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 18 to 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, but do not remove the lid. Allow rice to sit for about 5 minutes, then remove the lid and set aside. To prepare the cauliflower: In a separate frying pan or a wok, heat cumin seeds in oil on medium-high heat. Once seeds have sizzled for 30 to 45 seconds, reduce the heat to medium and add onions and cloves. Sauté the onion for 8 to 10 minutes or until brown. Add turmeric, jalapeño and salt, and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add cauliflower, stir well and stir-fry for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for another 5 to 8 minutes, until cauliflower is cooked but still firm and not too soft. Add cauliflower to rice and combine well. Add cilantro and stir with a large fork until the rice is completely yellow from the turmeric.

Marinated Beef Skewers

Marinated Beef Skewers

Serves: 6

Created by The MDM Team, Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Make no mi-steak about it -- these tender beef skewers are simply deelish. Prepared with an Asian flare, it will be a thrill to grill this meaty meal.

1 beef top round steak (about 1 lb.)
2 tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp. dry sherry
1 tsp. dark sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
18 cherry tomatoes

Preheat broiler. Cut beef crosswise into 18 (1/8-inch-thick) slices. Place in large resealable food storage bag. Combine soy sauce, sherry, oil and garlic in cup; pour over beef. Seal bag; turn to coat. Marinate in refrigerator at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Soak 18 (6-inch) wooden skewers in water 20 minutes. Preheat broiler. Drain beef; discard marinade. Weave beef accordion-style onto skewers. Place on rack of broiler pan. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat 2 minutes. Turn skewers over; broil 2 minutes more or until beef is barely pink. Garnish each skewer with 1 cherry tomato. Place skewers on lettuce-lined platter. Serve warm.

Apple Tart

Apple Tart

Makes: 12 servings 1 tart

Created by The MDM Team, Sunday, December 30, 2007
This dessert will be the apple of your eye. A perfectly prepared tart treat is on the menu with this recipe. It's good to the core.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup sliced almonds
2 large apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 (8 oz.) carton vanilla yogurt
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup apricot preserves, melted

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In large bowl, combine flour, sugar and butter; beat on low speed until well blended. Beat in 1 egg and 1/4 tsp almond extract to form crumbs. Press crumb mixture in bottom and 1 1/2 inches up sides of ungreased 9-inch spring form pan. Sprinkle with raisins and almonds. Arrange apple slices over raisins and almonds in desired pattern. In medium bowl, dissolve cornstarch in milk. Add lemon juice, vanilla, 1/4 tsp almond extract, yogurt and 1 beaten egg; blend well. Pour over apples. Bake at 375 degrees for 55 to 65 minutes or until apples are tender. Cool 30 minutes, remove sides of pan. Brush preserves over apples. Refrigerate any remaining tart.
Additional Tips
Ready in 1½ hour

John 10:1-18

John 10:1-18
1) " Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; 2) but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3) To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4) When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5) A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee fro m him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." 6) This figure Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. 7) So Jesus again said to them, " Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8) All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them. 9) I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. 11) I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12) He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13) He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep. 14) I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, 15) as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16) And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd. 17) For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. 18) No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father."

Are You Ready for the Holidays?

Are You Ready for the Holidays?
Mary Southerland

Today's Truth Luke 2:16-20 (NIV) "So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen which were just as they had been told."

Friend To Friend

Are you ready for the holidays? For some people, that question spurs exciting thoughts of beautifully decorated tables filled with scrumptious meals, festive shopping trips, extended family time, brightly wrapped gifts under a tree ... the "Walton" kind of holiday. For others, the holiday season is a very difficult and dark time that is to be endured rather than enjoyed. According to the American Institute of Stress, more than 110 million Americans take medication for stress-related causes each week. During the holiday season, another one million people battle what experts refer to as the "holiday blues." I am very familiar with depression and the pain it holds and must constantly battle to stay out of that pit.
Depression is an emotional, mental, physical and spiritual disorder. Something is out of balance. We have buried some pain instead of confronting it. We have misplaced our trust and sought help from impotent sources. In order to deal with depression, we must first come to a place of total and complete surrender to God and His plan of healing - even if we cannot see or do not understand that plan. The bottom line of God's heart toward His children is always restoration and healing.

While I am not a big fan of television, I do enjoy watching a few select home improvement shows. On a recent program, an interior decorator and home owner were discussing a list of changes that needed to be made in order to update the home. "First, we have to do something about those windows," the decorator announced. I was surprised that she had listed this task first - until I saw the house. The existing glass was not only an ugly shade of gold but was thick and chunky as well. The windows let in no light and made it virtually impossible to see in or out. The result was a dark, isolated home. The distressed homeowner protested, "But I like my privacy. And if I thought anyone could see in, I would feel totally exposed." When it comes to dealing with depression, many people feel the same way.

We construct walls over which no one can climb because the cost of friendship is too high or too risky. We fill the windows of our soul with emotional excuses in order to avoid dealing with pain. The result is darkness, loneliness and missed opportunities for restoration. We don't want to understand depression or find the treasures of that darkness; we simply want to be rid of it. Many people try to understand and deal with depression on a surface level - refusing to face painful experiences, difficult relationships and, in general, the broken places where darkness lives. We look for the nearest exit, hoping to bypass transparency because the price is just too much to pay. Emotional integrity is an essential step to recognizing, understanding and dealing with depression. We must be real before we can be right, and until we are willing to risk being transparent, we can neither understand nor effectively deal with depression during the holidays or any other time of the year.

The holidays seem to tug at the masks we carefully hold in place and push the emotional buttons we desperately try to hide. The arrival of family members can resurrect painful issues that have never really been resolved. Financial pressure opens up like a sink hole waiting to steal our joy and destroy our peace. Schedules demand every ounce of energy and false expectations leave us empty and hollow. Before we realize it, the dark, slimy pit swallows us. It is not supposed to be that way, girlfriend! Now is the time to do something about it!

Thanksgiving can be a time of praise if we choose to focus on the victories and joys we have experienced during the year and then find ways to share that victory and joy with others. Christmas can be a true celebration of fresh starts and new beginnings, if we choose to focus on a tiny baby born in a manger, come to save us and give us true life. And a new year? What a great opportunity to start over! The darkness can be destroyed if we choose to face and deal with whatever it holds. Right now, get ready for the holidays by choosing an attitude of joy, by focusing your mind on the things of heaven - not earth, and by fixing your heart on Jesus Christ.
Let's Pray

Father, I want this holiday season to one that is filled with light instead of darkness. Please help me discard my emotional masks and be real before You as well as with my family and friends. Give me the courage to be obedient to You in every holiday setting. Give me eyes to see those You bring into my life that need my encouragement because they are on the same journey. Make me a peacemaker, Lord. Father, prepare and enable me to make this holiday season an offering of praise to You.
In Jesus' name, Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

Take a few moments to re-visit the holiday season of 2008.
What was the best part of those holidays for you? Why?
List three changes you would like to make this year.
What is the first step you need to take to make those changes happen?
Read Luke 2:1-16. Answer the following questions after reading the Christmas story.
What was the attitude of Mary and Joseph as they traveled to Bethlehem?
How did the shepherds react to the news of Jesus' birth? What did they do?
How would you describe the emotions and thoughts of Mary? How can your choice to "ponder" on the miracles of Jesus' birth change your perspective through all of the approaching holidays?
Write a letter of commitment to Jesus, asking Him to empower the choices you have made concerning this holiday season. Make a step-by-step plan or a list of "dos" and "don'ts" that will help you experience the best holiday season of your life. Include your family in making this plan and make the commitment to hold each other accountable.

More From Your Girlfriends

Can you believe the holidays are already here? I have been on a diligent search this year - to discover the secrets of having the best and most Christ-centered holidays of my life. I am excited about my MP3, How to Have a Joy-Filled Christmas, and believe it will help you learn how to prevent and control holiday stress and how to give God the gifts He wants to receive from us. Want to know how to give ten wonderful gifts without spending a dime? Check out my MP3, Giving the Perfect Gift.
Mary also has two NEW E-Book Bible Studies available! I Need a Friend and Time: Friend or Foe? These studies are perfect for personal or small group study. Each study is presented in an attractive PDF format, is easy to download and copy on your home computer and includes a helpful study guide as well.
Need gift ideas? This year, why not give gifts that are life-changing? Enroll a friend or family member in Mary's weekly online bible study, Light for the Journey. Browse through Mary's online store for that perfect gift of encouragement - a book, CD, MP3 download, E-Bible Study and special gift items. And be sure to check out the NEW MP3s now available!
Seeking God? Click here to find out more about how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Girlfriends in GodP.O. Box 725Matthews, NC 28106

Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.