Sunday, March 31, 2013

It's Not About the Bunny!

I love, love, love Easter!

Yesterday we spent quite a bit of time at our church. We helped with decorating for Easter in the morning then I went back to practice singing with my friends in the afternoon. I snapped some photos while there and I'd like to share them with you now.

We have a lot of Easter Lilies...which I love.
Did you know my name, Susan, means Lily?

You remember my friend, Allen
Thank goodness, he is feeling better!

Sorry, I couldn't seem to stop taking lily photos. 
Believe me, I am holding back as there are MANY more!

We sang and sang.
Easter songs are the best!

Now, I think it is time for some very deep, very theological insight for you.
I thank my friend, Kiley, for sharing this via Facebook...

Have a Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Still Her Little Child

Our Worship Team sang this song last night at Good Friday Service. Our director told us to really think about the words we were singing. I don't think I was the only one who was crying! The last verses are just so potent. It seemed like a good song for you all to hear on this Saturday before Easter. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Death of Jesus the Jew

I once had a Jewish friend who told me that when she was a little girl, other children said mean things to her and told her she killed Jesus.    Oops... I just realized I wrote about this before. Every year, around the time of Good Friday, I find myself thinking about my friend, Laurie. Click here to read more about that.

Jesus was Jewish! Over and over in the Bible God lets us know that he loved the Jewish People. Why am I saying this now? Because I want to talk about Good Friday. Although I don't understand it, I know that throughout history others have used the event to fuel hatred toward Jews. Did they forget that Jesus was a Jew? Did they forget that Jews held a special place in God's heart? Did they already forget Jesus' teaching from the night before his death, his command to love one another? OK... I said my piece. Now, let's talk about Good Friday.

First of all, have you ever wondered why it is called Good Friday when it is all about bad things happening? Well, while the events of that night were not good, the results were purely good.  First Peter 3:18 says, "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit." Jesus was the only one born human who was without sin. He was the only one righteous. He died for all of us who are unrighteous.  None of us are pure. We would pollute heaven so could not enter, except that Jesus purified us, put our sins to death with his own body. 

It  is a hard story to read and an even harder one to watch. I was searching the internet for clips to show you when I found this one. I had never heard the song with it, written from the point of view of one of the criminals put to death with Jesus. I really appreciated it, though, and hope you do as well.

When we have our Good Friday Service it will be a somber event. The songs will be somber, the tone will be somber. We will be remembering Jesus' pain, his suffering, his sacrifice. We will leave quietly. That's what I want to do now. I will leave you to quietly read the account as written in the Bible.

John 18-19:30

Bible - New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Arrested

18 When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.
Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.
“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.
Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”[a]
10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)
11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him 13 and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.

Peter’s First Denial

15 Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, 16 but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the servant girl on duty there and brought Peter in.
17 “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter.
He replied, “I am not.”
18 It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.

The High Priest Questions Jesus

19 Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.
20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. 21 Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.”
22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded.
23 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” 24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Peter’s Second and Third Denials

25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?”
He denied it, saying, “I am not.”
26 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.

Jesus Before Pilate

28 Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”
30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”
31 Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”
“But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected. 32 This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.
33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”
35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”
36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. 39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”
40 They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.

Jesus Sentenced to Be Crucified

19 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.
Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”
As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”
But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”
The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”
When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”
11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”
12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”
13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.
“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.
15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”
“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.
“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.
16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull(which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews.20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”
22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.
24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”
This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,
“They divided my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.”[b]
So this is what the soldiers did.
25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman,[c] here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

The Death of Jesus

28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled,Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Maundy Thursday for Dummies

Well, I just learned something new. You've seen all the Dummies books, right? There's Personal Finance for Dummies, Excel for Dummies, Anatomy and Physiology for Dummies,  Digital Photography for Dummies and just about everything else for Dummies. While the titles are kind of rude, they are often very useful books. I just learned that there is also Christianity for Dummies. I've not read the book and am not endorsing it or anything but I was intrigued that there was such a thing.

The part of the book I did read was about Maundy Thursday. You see, today is Maundy Thursday. It is a commemoration of a really important day in Christian History. Here's what Richard Wagner says in Christianity For Dummies...

"Within the midst of the Easter season, Maundy Thursday — the Thursday before Easter — is one Christian holy day that many Christians and even many churches often overlook, yet it symbolizes a critically important truth of the Christian faith: Jesus as a suffering servant and the call for his followers to do the same. It also draws a connection between the Passover sacrifice, a Jewish tradition, and Jesus Christ’s sacrificial role on the cross."

As I mentioned before, this week is called Holy Week for many Christians. It starts with Palm Sunday when we are talking about Jesus returning to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, a Jewish day celebrating God's freeing of the Israelites (aka Jewish or Hebrew people) from slavery from the Egyptians. That event took place generations before, during Old Testament/Torah times. So, Jesus is in Jerusalem and he and his disciples had a Passover Supper together. They had probably each done this with their own families every year prior. This year it was to be much more than that, though they didn't really quite get it yet. You see, this event took place just the night before Jesus was to be crucified.
Jesus used this last night to give instructions to his disciples. He was preparing them for his death. I expect much of what he taught them didn't fully make sense until after the horror of his crucifixion took place. He told them more about his purpose and he prepared them for the Holy Spirit that would be with them when Jesus returned to heaven. He showed them how to become as servants to one another; he himself washed their feet. That takes real humility.

Tonight there will be many Christian Churches around the world who will be having foot washing ceremonies. It isn't really pretty. Humility isn't always pretty. 

Another very important thing he did, then, was to share the bread and wine with his disciples in a new way. This is where Christians get what we now refer to as communion. It is all about Jesus' sacrifice for us with the bread being his body and the wine being his blood. I know it sounds a bit ghoulish but it is really quite beautiful, a physical way to remember we have taken Jesus into ourselves. We refer to that event as the Last Supper. Christian churches around the world will also be serving communion tonight, as well as any given Sunday of the year.
It was also that night that Jesus gave a command (the word Maunday comes from the Latin word for command, mandatum) that is both beautiful and difficult to follow:

John 13:34-35

New International Version (NIV)
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

I can't quite imagine what that night was like for Jesus. He loved these friends and he knew that they were going to have some rough times ahead of them, to say the least. He also knew that one of them was about to betray him. He knew that he was about to suffer a lot of physical and emotional pain. From the Bible we know that he didn't want to have to go through that. He did it out of obedience to God and out of love for us. That is such a great lesson to us for how we are to behave, basing our actions always out of obedience to God and love for one another. Easier to say than to do.
So you see, Maunday Thursday represents something very basic to Christianity. It ties together events from the Old Testament and the New Testament. It sets into motion changes that have a powerful impact on Christians now, all these years later. I've just barely touched on the main points. There is so much depth to the teaching from that night, I hope you will want to know more.
To read more about that Thursday, Jesus Last Supper and his instructions for his disciples and us, please click here, here, here or here. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John each wrote about that night.
photos from by Stuart Miles, Evgeni Dinev, Dan and Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sick of Being Sick

OK. I will give it one more day and THEN THAT IS IT! I'm officially sick of being sick. I really didn't want to go on antibiotics but I've coughed so much I've pulled a muscle in my back. I am being treated for bronchitis and a sinus infection...possibly pneumonia but I deferred the chest x-ray unless I get worse. I doubt that will be necessary because, as I said, I'm just about to get well.

Seriously, I am talking about being sick of being sick, but I do know that this is a short-term illness and I realize there are many out there who deal with more difficult health challenges on a daily basis. Please don't take my whining too seriously.

Just before I went in for my appointment my friend, Nicole, dropped by with a sweet little bag of things to make me better. She brought chicken noodle soup, essential oils appropriate for my illness, mints and a pattern for crocheting. Thanks, Nicole! You are so thoughtful!

That last one particularly shows you that she knows what I like, huh? I'm so grateful for her friendship. I really have a lot of kind friends and I know what a blessing that is!

I don't yet know much about the essential oils but I'm learning. I know that some of the medications I used to give as chemotherapy came from tree bark and such, so it seems reasonable to me to experiment with these a bit. Nicole taught me how to use the ones she brought to me and I've got a good book on the use of them, including references to some of the efficacy studies. It's kind of fun to be learning about some of these ancient remedies. I've got my diffusers going and the house smells great! Have any of you used essential oils?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Still In Isolation

Thank you for all the get well wishes! It was especially nice to read so many kind comments.

Yes, I am still sick. I am still avoiding my husband. Last night we texted each other across the hall a lot. We talked on the phone a bit but it made me feel like I had to cough so that didn't last too long. The good news is, so far he has not shown signs of illness.

Anyway, the glamour of being sick just isn't there anymore. I'm not finding the whole yucky tissue/coughing until my sides hurt/fever/short of breath/pounding sinus headache thing to be that much fun anymore. I'm funny that way.

It sure seems like a lot of people have been sick and it seems to hang around longer than usual. Have any of you been sick recently?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Avoiding My Husband

I am avoiding my husband.

As I write this I am in the guest bedroom. Nope. We are not having a spat. I am sick. Not to worry; it is just the usual kind of stuff that gets passed around.

I'm coughing and sputtering and don't have much of a voice but it will soon be a memory. It's not a big deal, except that this is Holy Week.

You see, because my husband is a pastor this is a very busy week for him. He has 4 services in the next 6 days, including a funeral, and he doesn't have a back-up pastor! As you can imagine, this would be a rough week for him to be sick! So, I am holed up in our guest room. I've got my juice, tissues, cough drops, fluffy pillows, computer, books and crocheting. If I need to use the restroom, I make sure Mike isn't in the hallway. I don't want him to breathe my air.

I'm avoiding my husband, but it is out of love that I do so.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday

(Triumphant Entry-Lift High the Lord Processional by Catbird SC)

Today is Palm Sunday. Do you know what that is?  Click here to read why I think we could also call it Cloak Sunday and here to read about a gentle donkey kind of King.

Palm Sunday is all about Jesus. It carries a lot of significance for Christians, marking the beginning of Holy Week. It is all about remembering something that happened a long, long time ago.

Near the end of Jesus' life on Earth, he and his apostles returned to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. Passover is a Jewish celebration. That makes sense because Jesus was Jewish. It is something done in remembrance of God saving the Jewish People from slavery. That event occurred many generations before Jesus lived on Earth. In fact, it is still celebrated even today.

So, as I said, Jesus and his disciples (special followers who helped with his ministry) were coming back to Jerusalem for the Passover. When they entered, it was like a glorious parade, all in honor of Jesus. One of the things his fans (followers) did was to lay palm leaves on the road for him. Even though he was being treated like a rock star, he entered on a donkey in a very humble manner. Here, I'll let you read an account from the Book of Matthew...

Matthew 21:1-11

New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

21 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
“Say to Daughter Zion,
    ‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
    and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”[a]
The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna[b] to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[c]
“Hosanna[d] in the highest heaven!”
10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

So, we begin Holy Week on a high note. Next Sunday will be Easter, my favorite of all holidays. In between, though, we will travel some pretty hard days following Jesus' path to the cross. I will try to explain it as we go along as I know not everyone has heard these stories. They have had a powerful impact on my life, though, and I'd like to share them.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Too Earthy!

The other day a patient, getting ready for a colonoscopy, was nervous that he might say something to embarrass himself when he woke up from anesthesia. That made me think about the things I'd heard patients say while under the influence.

After 9/11 do you remember that the news was always reporting on the tracking down of Osama bin Laden? There was talk that he was holed up in a cave somewhere at the time. Well, as one patient was waking up from his colonoscopy he asked, "Did you find Osama bin Laden in there? Get it? Dark cave...

Anyway, not to worry. Most of the time now a medication is used that allows a patient to focus and wake up with a clearer head. While patients appreciate this, I must say it took away some of my fun.

And speaking of colonoscopy fun...

Last time I had a colonoscopy I wore my Betty Boop socks. They have a picture of Betty Boop as a nurse. She is holding a syringe and it says, "Bottoms Up!" I thought it was appropriate for a colonoscopy day.

I can guarantee that as my husband reads today's post he is shaking his head and saying, "Too earthy!" He tells me that quite a bit. I think most nurses are pretty earthy. How about you? Are you earthy or are you more prim and proper?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Our Sweet Little Deformed Tree

Nine years ago, when we first looked at this house, we noticed a pitiful tree in the front yard. It was maybe 4 ft. tall. We don't know what really happened to it, but it was quite straggly and the top of it seemed to be.... well....GONE! The realtor mumbled something about lightning but perhaps he was just guessing. I'm speculating it was a wind-caused injury. I think Mike and I were both planning on having it removed. It was planted too close to the house anyway.

Sam was eleven years old at the time. That seems like a long time ago when I look at our youngest, now 6'4" or more. Anyway, Sam was quite upset when he heard us talking of having that tree removed. He begged us to let it live! It was kind of cute, really. So, how could we remove it after that? 

Instead, we have trimmed and nurtured the poor little deformed tree. It will not likely ever be noted for it's beauty to anyone but us, but I really like it. It is a survivor! Last night, just before dark, I went out and took these photographs of it all dressed up in the new, heavy Spring snow. 

No, it isn't the most beautiful tree in the neighborhood but 
when I look at it I think of an eleven year old red-head 
who pleaded for its life. The memory of it makes me smile.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cookie Update

Just a quick check-in to tell you I had to try the Hugs with Pretzels.  If you don't know what I am talking about, check here.

They were SOOOOOOOO delicious! They were also beautiful.

I think you would like them!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Do Not Call

We have had a dramatic increase in telemarketer calls lately. While I don't want to be mean, I know the people calling are just trying to do their job, I am just tired of it! After about the zillionth call the other night, I went online and signed up (again) for the DO NOT CALL LIST. Maybe we will soon get some peace!

Here are some things I found out when I went to the Do Not Call website. I found out that this is a national registry operated by the Federal Trade Commission (FCC). That sounds pretty important, doesn't it? Most telemarketers are supposed to subscribe to the list. Non-profit organizations, political organizations and telephone survey folks are exempt from having to subscribe to this list, but they can voluntarily do so. It seems to me that they should, though.

When you register your phone number(s) with the Do Not Call folks, it shows up on the list by the next day but telemarketers only have to update monthly so it may take a bit before you see (hear) improvement. That month won't be soon enough for me! Seriously, I have reached my limit of these calls.

I also found out that there is a phone scam going on. If someone calls you offering to put your name on the National Do Not Call Registry, JUST SAY NO! They are charging fees to do this but in reality, private companies can not do it. Consumers must register directly or through some state governments. It is always free.

Before you even have to ask I will tell you that, YES, you can register your cell phone. If you are registering online you get to register as many as 3 phones at once. They send a confirmation link to your e-mail, one for each number you registered. You have to click on the link to complete the registration. If you have more phones than that to register, you just go back and start the process over. It isn't hard and it takes only a few minutes. 

If you own a business, don't use this service. Sorry, but that is the rule. The Do Not Call Registry is only for personal phone numbers.The National Do Not Call Registry is only for personal phone numbers. 

According to their website, your phone number stays registered unless you call to remove it or the number is disconnected or reassigned.  I am wondering if this part is newish. I think it used to be for 2 or 3 years or so. Anyway, that is what it says.

If you purchase something from a company, that means you "established a business relationship" with them. Because of that, they can call your number for up to 18 months after your last payment, unless to ask them not to call again. If they ignore your request, they might be fined up to $16,000! 

Also, if there are some telemarketers you want to allow to call you, you give them written permission and that overrides your National Do Not Call Registry...just so you know.

That covers the highlights. There is a lot more information at the website but I think I've hit the main points. Now you know.  No need to thank me. I just wanted to share the love.

Sweet and Salty

Don't you just love sweet and salty as a food combination? It is such a perfect marriage of tastes. Mike knows that if I eat something very sweet, I'm likely to need some potato chips to go with it. That's why some cookie recipes that I saw on Pinterest practically shouted out my name! I had to have them!

I didn't exactly use the recipes as written. If you know me, you know that is no surprise. I can tackle a recipe with only two ingredients, such as these, and still manage to change them up a bit. This time was no different.

The first recipe called for Ritz Crackers and full size Rolos. I found mini Rolos and found them to be perfect. They were NOT individually wrapped, which saved a lot of time.

The second recipe called for pretzels and Hershey Hugs. I saw the Hershey Kisses with Amonds as well as the Hershey Kisses with Caramel but no Hugs... no worries....improvise is my middle name! (Not really. My middle name is Ann.)

I preheated the oven to 250 degrees. I didn't bother going back to Pinterest to see what heat was recommended. I probably would have done my own thing anyway. So, first, I started with the pretzels. I added the Kisses with Almonds on some and the Kisses with Caramel on others. I know it sounds kind of whiny but I will admit that unwrapping all those little Kisses got to be a bit tedious.

But I finally got the job done.

I popped the cookie sheet into the oven for only about 4 minutes. Trust me, you don't want to let it melt all the way or you'll have a big mess. Even I knew that. I just wanted the Kisses to get soft enough so that I could moosh the lid on successfully.  When they look shiny and limp, they are just right to top.

I found that the ones with almonds didn't look as pretty because the bulky almond kind of got in the way.
 It turns out that almonds don't melt or moosh. 
They tasted great, though!

The ones with the caramel Kisses were perfect. I bet you wish you could eat one of these right now, don't you?

Next, I turned to the Ritz Crackers. Because I'd found the bag of Rolos that weren't individually wrapped, these were super simple. I decided it was important to be sure that the salty side of each cracker be on the outside of the sandwiched cookie. It only makes sense, really, for your mouth to better experience the salt.
I think I melted these maybe only 3 minutes.

As you see, they were just barely melting when I took them out. I topped them with a second cracker, just giving a little twist as I added the "lid" in order to smear the little Rolo all around the cracker.  Yummmm!

Then, I couldn't stop! 
I tried some with Rolos on the Pretzels.

They were my favorite combo for ease and taste.
You just couldn't make a better little treat!
They were pretty messy, though.
I found that letting them cool and then putting the whole pan in the fridge for a bit was the best way to handle them, taking them off the pan after the chocolate and caramel kind of hardened again.

I then tried the Kisses on the Ritz Crackers. 
Also good and much neater. 

If you are making cookies to take somewhere (I was taking them to church) you might find my last combination to be the best. I used Ritz Crackers with the Rolos (easier) and topped with the pretzels (saltier). That was really good and looked kind of fancy.

There were no left-overs!

Next time, I hope I can find a bag of the Hugs, too,
as I think that will be pretty with the white oozing out.

Sweet and salty..... mmmmmmm good!

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