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I’m taking it easy on this first day of the new year.

Not so yesterday.  With my husband’s help, I swept the house clean of Christmas, save for three ‘everyday’ nativity sets which reside in our living room.

We dusted, waxed, wiped down counters and cleaned windows.  Then, we vacuumed carpets and mopped wood floors clean of salty residue tracked-in from our recent snow.   Our morning’s work of hard labor left the house smelling as fresh as it looked.  I can’t recall ever beginning a year in such spartan surroundings.

It’s hard to clean amidst Christmas glitter and garland, which in my house typically hangs on through Epiphany.  Yet, the need  for housekeeping is not so apparent when decorations help distract eyes from dust.  Perhaps it’s this way with people too.   Our exterior adornments and ministrations can easily draw focus away from tender care of the soul.

It’s a thought that leads me to pray; and today, this borrowed one will do:  “Create in me a clean heart.” And in this new year, put a new and right spirit within me.  Let me be kinder to myself.  Help me not push myself into a dizzy tizzy.  Let my expressions of love be as simple and right as today’s meal will be.  No New Year’s resolutions these; I will need God’s help to live everyday life simpler.

Unlike New Year’s past, we’ll have no feast today.  Instead, it will be an everyday meal of fried chicken and gravy for three.  I’ve made this meal so many times it’s become a simple undertaking.  No more than thirty minutes, from start to finish, I’ll complete our supper with mashed potatoes and a few vegetables.  Perhaps I’ll reheat a few of Max’s frozen Rocket Rolls — he’ s always glad to share … for a price.

For dessert, we’ll enjoy this simple Sopapilla Cheesecake, which came into our lives through Kara last winter.  The recipe mixes up quick — 10 minutes — and bakes in 30.  It’s good served warm or cold.  I like it for breakfast with a cup of coffee or tea.  For small groups like today, I half the recipe.  For larger gatherings, I make the full recipe.

Somehow the dessert reminds me of snowy days.  Maybe it’s because of the fluffy cream cheese filling.  Or perhaps because I returned Kara’s favor and carried the dessert to her and Joe one snowy afternoon last winter.  Or maybe it’s because the dessert lasts about as long as a Oklahoma snowfall  – there are rarely leftovers for another day.   In the end, the reasons don’t matter much.

What matters today is that a new year of simple pleasures awaits us.  May they be as good as this simple dessert.  From my life to yours.

Sopapilla Cheesecake


Preparation Time:  10 to 15 mins.  Bake Time:  30 Mins in 350 oven

2 pkgs Crescent rolls
16 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar, divided
1 tsp cinnamon
1 stick butter
1 tsp vanilla

In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

In the bottom of a 9×13 pan, flatten 1 can of rolls, so that they form a continuous crust.

Beat together 1 cup sugar, vanilla and cream cheese.  Spread on top of crescent roll crust.  Unroll the second can of rolls — carefully stretch and shape to form top crust to cover cream cheese filling.  Pour melted butter over this.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture.

Bake for 30 mins in a 350 oven.