Archive for May, 2008

The Passing of a Wonderful Dog

My Dear Siestas,

I’ve been needing to tell you something but it paled so dreadfully in comparison to the trials of those around us that I wouldn’t have dared share it when it happened. The mention of it would have been an insult. I’ve been looking for a time when we weren’t as mindful of terrible suffering, but the truth is, we daily become aware of astonishing hurts. Only yesterday someone shared another person’s loss in a blog comment that caused me to bawl my head off and get off my chair and onto the floor. This is embarrassingly minute in comparison. It’s just a Moore family thing but since you’ve been so involved in ongoing Sunny sagas, I feel like I should let you know.

On Wednesday, May 21st, I said good-bye to my beloved, faithful shadow and best friend of many years, Sunny. She was an unimpressive medium-size mixed-breed stray when she took up on my porch a jillion years ago but she has been my constant companion ever since and a source of much company and joy through some very lonely times. To tell you that I miss her is an understatement. It has yet to leave my mind.

Right around the time she got lost, she’d started getting really sick. At first, we thought it was an isolated thing but then she continued to have bouts. She got to where she cried much of the time so we knew she had to be in pain. After three different doctors and finally a referral to a specialty vet, we learned that she had a tumor on her spleen and that her liver was already “mottled,” indicating that disease had already spread to that organ. She was only comfortable when heavily medicated by a pain reliever and, if she was awake, she was nauseated. To let her suffer so was no way to treat such a lively, faithful pet.

I got to be with my girl, holding her gray face in my hands and telling her, through sobs, what a great job she’d done when she died. I still can’t recount it without crying. Keith buried her in my favorite place in my garden, right by my bench and surrounded by beautiful flowers. I can’t imagine ever having another little canine companion that will love me like that one did but, to be sure, one day down the road we’ll get another puppy. And she’ll have a hard act to follow.

I just wanted you to know what happened. You’ve been so sweet to care about all our dog drama. I have lots of perspective and am not even asking for prayer. Please spend that energy on people who are desperate to make it through this day. I’m doing fine, Sweet Sisters. Just a tad sad.

Thank you so much for your wonderful company on this pilgrimage with Christ Jesus. He is IT, isn’t He??

I love you like crazy.
beth

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Only in Texas

Keith just called me into the den to watch a TV clip from the Houston morning news. He’d paused it on the screen so I could really take it in. It seems that an eighteen wheeler carrying “animal entrails” overturned under one of our major freeways. 4000 gallons spilled all over the road causing a considerable traffic jam. Not only am I praying for the truckdriver’s well-being (he does not appear to be in serious condition, praise God), I am praying for him to get a new job. You just never know what kind of load people are carrying.

You’ll be glad to know that we have another post coming quickly so you don’t have to deal with this one for long.

I love you.

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Summer Bible Study Anyone?

Hey, Siestas! Thank you so much for your compassionate and diligent prayers for the Chapman family. It will be the difference between day and night for them. If you keep a prayer journal like I do, let’s write their names intermittently in the blank pages ahead of us so that we’ll have reminders to pray for them off and on for the next year. What seemed like random timing to us when we jotted the reminder to pray will be used by God as perfect timing for them.

OK, Girls, so what’s the plan for V-I-C-T-O-R-Y this summer? A more leisurely pace is terrific for the summer months if you have the kind of job (in or outside the home) where your schedule loosens up. Goodness knows, all of us could a huge let-up on the schedule and the stress. We need a vacation in the worst way. BUT, if you’re like me, 3 months outside the Word is roughly 2½ months inside a pit. I’ve found that if I’m going to live in victory, I’ve got to plan for it. Summer brings a whole new set of demands to many women’s lives so here’s a little encouragement to keep our heads covered with the Word.

If you’ve already got a Bible study planned for the summer, let us know in a comment what it is and where you’re participating…or if you’re just doing it solo. Our blog could offer some fun accountability. If you don’t have a plan, however, I’d like to propose one. This summer I’m going to facilitate an 8-week Siesta summer Bible study on:

No Other Gods by Kelly Minter

I’ve told you before that I consistently do other authors’ Bible studies so that I can receive spontaneous words from God through other teachers. I have no idea how many I’ve done through the years, but for the last month I’ve been doing Kelly’s “No Other Gods.” I’ve gotten a ton out of it and have really enjoyed her writing style. The homework is not long and drawn out like other authors we know (let’s not mention names) and we won’t involve lecture-driven sessions, so it may be just the thing for some of you for summer. Not too much. Not too little. Kelly’s emphasis is on discussion, spending some really meaningful girl time together, and how about sharing some good food? Here’s my vision for how we could implement her study in Siestaville:

*We will launch on Tuesday, June 17th and “meet” EVERY OTHER TUESDAY (July 1st, 15th, 29th, August 12th) until we conclude our eight weeks of homework and accountability on Tuesday, August 12th.

*We will each need to get our own copies of the workbook (not the regular trade book version but the workbook!) “No Other Gods” by Kelly Minter and have it well in your possession by the time we launch. (We aren’t able to get it for you through Living Proof but I wish we could.) Please don’t wait till the last minute to get it or you may not be able to start on time! If you have a LifeWay Christian Store, you should be able to find it on the shelf but the easiest way may be on line through the LifeWay Website. Here’s the link: http://www.lifeway.com/e2/shop/?R=797560

*You can participate solo but since such an important part of Kelly’s purpose through the study is fellowship, try as hard as you can to enlist three or four other women to meet with you in one of your homes every other Tuesday night as scheduled. Five meetings this summer shouldn’t be too overwhelming and we can rotate houses if we like. Make sure that the women you invite to participate know that the evenings will be low on stress and high on much needed fellowship and rich discussion. Kelly calls this approach “The Living Room Series” because of its emphasis on a relaxed and refreshing atmosphere where we can develop some wonderful relationships in Christ. In this superficial culture that surrounds us, where friendship take place through text message (I’m guilty, too!), we have a huge deficit of pure depth in women’s relationships. Let’s make this real. The goal is to have those two weeks of Bible study finished each time you meet (after the launch) but the fellowship will still be worth your while if you couldn’t get all your homework accomplished. Let’s have lots of encouragement without loads of condemnation.

*On each of our meeting days (every other week starting Tuesday, June 17th to Tuesday, August 12th), I will “facilitate” by posting discussion questions or activities I’ve come up with based on our previous two weeks of study. You will then implement them into your gathering. (I will make sure the post is up first thing on those Tuesday mornings in case your meeting times are morning or noon rather than evening.) Your way of checking back in with me will be by telling me something about your gathering afterward in a comment to that same post. It will be left up all day Wednesday for your feedback.

(For those of you not participating, it is important to know that we will not hog the blog all summer with this Bible study activity. It will only require a post or two every other week. We will have plenty of other things going for all our Siestas.)

*Several days before our every-other-Tuesday meetings, we will post a recommended recipe (of our own – probably from Melissa) for a dish to be prepared by one of you and served at that gathering. THOSE OF YOU NOT PARTICIPATING IN THE SUMMER SIESTA STUDY WILL STILL ENJOY HAVING A RECIPE IDEA. Recent posts and comments have been proof to me of that. For those who will participate, one of the really fun elements of Kelly’s series is great food. Talk about Biblical! Much New Testament community took place around the table in a long, leisurely meal. You’ll love the recipes Kelly’s included in the Bible study even if we pitch you some of our own ideas. Inviting all the participants to have a common dish every other Tuesday night will be just another way to fellowship as a large on-line Bible study group. It’s the beauty of the common table.

So, what do you think? I’m really pumped about it! It’s kind of experimental but I think it has great possibilities! Here’s what comes next regarding our summer Bible study: I’m going to give you till Tuesday, June 10th to decide if you want to participate and also see if you can pull together a small group. (Remember, you can do it solo but the goal is for us girls to have some meaningful fellowship and accountability. Try thinking outside the box on participants!) On the 10th I’ll make a post for sign-ups and the only comments that day will be the names and locations and proposed groups of those who will be participating. It will be so much fun to see all the different locales our Siesta Tuesday Summer Bible Study will include. I can’t wait!

Got your own plan for summer Bible study? Then let’s hear it! Let’s plan some victories, Sweet Things. Let’s have our souls refreshed and our minds renewed. God has a word for us this summer. Let’s go get it!
I love you to pieces and I’m so honored to be your servant.
beth

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For the Chapman Family

Dearest Siestas,

The Living Proof Ministries blog will go dark for three days as a representation of silent mourners sitting beside our friends and co-laborers in the Gospel, Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman and their children. We pray that this small effort will serve as a reminder to all who visit here to go face down and intercede for this dear and loving family at this terrible time of loss. We have chosen three days as a symbol of resurrection as we plead with God to comfort them, tend deeply to each one of them, and raise them in the months and years to come from this place of unimaginable grief.

Faithful family of God, our deepest thoughts, love, and prayers are with you and will remain with you for many months to come.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’” Revelation 21:1-4

Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly.

Comments closed.

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Simulcast – August 1-2, 2008

My mom has had a lot of interesting phone calls in her life. I used to sit at the bottom of the stairs and listen to her talk on the phone when I was a kid. I wasn’t hearing both sides of the conversation, mind you. And if it was important mom would go talk in her room. Even so, there was some interesting stuff to listen to!

Yesterday’s phone call beat all. Mom got to have a conference call with well over 300 host site leaders for the August 1-2 Living Proof Live Simulcast. I can’t even wrap my mind around that! Over 300 people on their own phones, all connected at once! I’m amazed! I wasn’t listening in this time because I thought it would be awful to have Jackson squawking about his Cars! Fast cars! and Monster trucks! in the background.

The conference call reminded me that I should let all of our blog readers know about this simulcast opportunity. If there’s not a Living Proof Live event in your region this year, or if you can’t attend the one near you for whatever reason, you may have another chance to experience Living Proof Live.

The LPL event in Louisville, Kentucky, (August 1-2) will be simulcast to host sites throughout the country. That means there may be a church in your area where you can go to watch the live broadcast of the conference. I hesitate to say “watch” because it is much more than that. You are actually a participant. My church in Irving hosted the Get Out of That Pit simulcast in 2007 and it didn’t take long for me to forget that we weren’t actually at the main site. Hosting the simulcast was a great experience for our church. We loved getting to bring women together from sister churches all around our community. If you can’t find a satellite site in your area, it’s not too late to become one!

If you’d like to know more about the simulcast, here are two helpful links for you:

How to find a simulcast host site near you.

How to become a simulcast host site.

Is anyone already planning to attend the simulcast?

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LPL Boise Recap

Thank you again, Rich!

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Something’s Got Me Thinking

Hey, Girlfriends! It’s Sunday and I’m writing you from an airplane seat on my way home from Boise, Idaho, where God threw a party of His Presence for 5,000 of us gathered there. They were a phenomenal group and, for me, it was love at first sight. My whole team and I really dig serving off the beaten path, so we were very anxious to get there but wondered if we should prepare ourselves for a fairly quiet group. Let me be clear. That is not what we got. I named them Noisy Boise within the first five minutes. They wanted Jesus and were willing to practically jump out of their seats to grab a word out of thin air from Him. Oh, man, I am so grateful to God for allowing me to worship shoulder-to-shoulder with such an incredible group. I will remember them (you, if you were there) for a very long time.

This weekend I did something I almost never do. I stayed over on Saturday night to have a retreat with my LifeWay team. To tell you that I’m crazy about them is a gross understatement. Through the years we’ve become a team in every sense of the word from the guys that do the set-up, sound, lighting…to the computer technicians that do the graphics for praise and worship and the power point for the messages…to the event team that actually puts on the conference and mans (or womans) it…to the entire platform team who walks into a very well prepared-for environment. Everybody does their part and, incidentally, nobody’s part is for sissies. We work our tails off. As I told Noisy Boise, we aren’t very slick but we aren’t minimalists either. We don’t give a group the least we can get away with. We drag our nearly dead bodies out of that auditorium on Saturday afternoon. The members of the team are as different as our roles and, joyously (and even unexpectedly), everybody from the truck drivers to the artists have become family. The down side for me is that the most sanguine of the siblings, yours truly, is one of the very few who lives outside of Nashville. They get to spend a ton of travel time together while I go solo. They often send me texts and cell pics from the airport and it makes me so jealous I can hardly stand it. This time we decided we’d all stay after the event, eat pizza together, play games (Travis hosted a rousing round of Fish Bowl and the card game Pit) and, my personal request, learn to do the Cha-Cha Slide. Play that funky music, white girl. It was hilarious. (And modest. Don’t mess with me here. It was just plain fun.) We had the best time ever! I laughed myself silly and dropped in my hotel bed last night thoroughly exhausted and deliriously happy. Full. God is so good. So fun. I think He had a blast last night. Maybe even laughed out loud.

But now for the primary reason I’m writing to you. Early this morning I realized that I had an all-day plane trip (HOURS!) in front of me with no extra reading material for a poor, exhausted mind. For an obsessive reader like me, that’s not a flight. That’s a train wreck. I’d studied all the way up so I hadn’t thought about the oversight till it was time to go home. Adding to the annoyance was some excellent reading material sitting on my back porch that I’m in the happy middle of right now. (I think I’ve told you before that, at almost all times, I have two books going that are totally separate from my research books: a Christian inspirational book of some kind and a novel. Forgot both.) I resorted to the magazine rack, grabbed three decent looking selections, slapped a fortune on the counter, and headed for the plane. One was Time’s 40 Anniversary Special, another was a Vanity Fair edition that looked more interesting this time than inappropriate and the third was a magazine my personal assistant really loves. It’s kind of a health and fashion thing with an over-40 flair to it. The cover looked pretty hip so I pitched it in the mix with a “What the heck.” Thumbing through it, I happened on an article that was not only well written. It was one of the most thought provoking secular articles I’ve read in a good while. (“More,” May 2008 Issue, p.90)

In the article entitled “My So-Called Genius” author Laura Fraser recounts her remarkable journey from whiz-kid-dom to an adulthood of unmet expectations and fairly ordinary life. Don’t let my crude synopsis keep you from reading the article for yourself because I won’t do it justice. I’d like to recap enough, however, to explain why I found it significant. By the time she was five she’d already been labeled “precocious” and told repeatedly how special she was. The next years did not disappoint. She was brilliant and darling and surpassed her peers impressively, drawing the attention of adults who conveyed to her in a myriad of ways that she was destined for greatness. Then came college where she entered an academic world of peers who, not coincidentally, were told the same thing. By her late forties, she’d accomplished many good things but the expectation of greatness and the sense that she’d never quite achieved it (despite a best seller) haunted her with feelings of failure. All the well-meaning forecasts had done nothing but cast a pall of perfectionism upon her and, as her consultant so aptly pointed out, “Perfectionists always lose.” The consultant confronted her with a very important challenge that I’ll paraphrase: “Must you write a great book? How about writing a good book?” Fraser describes how age and time had become precious gifts and how she’d come to reconcile the unreasonable expectations with her reasonable success. In doing so she really made me think about some things. Here are a few:

How careful we need to be – as parents, teachers, relatives, leaders, or observers – about telling gifted children how great they are going to be. It is a trap and a forecast Fraser claims rarely pans out. She points out the monumental difference between talent and having a clue what to do with it and (again paraphrasing) how genius rarely exempts people from having to work hard just like everybody else who wants to make it. I’m a big believer in encouraging young people and imitating the Apostle Paul with Timothy by telling them that they are extraordinarily gifted. BUT, as we learned this weekend in Boise, every gift is a trust placed in human hands by a holy God and it is up to each individual to develop the integrity, humility, and work-ethic to know what on earth to do with it. A gift never guarantees success. In the long run as well as the routine day-in and day-out, those with the grit to just keep doing the hard thing will often prove more effective. Gift without grit is a dang waste.

How profoundly wise God’s way is. If we’re willing to follow His paradoxical path on the winding roadmap of Scripture, we have the joy of side-stepping this ankle-breaking trap. So will a few children we’re privileged to train. Living just to be great will prove at least empty and at most unbearable. Spending ourselves for something infinitely greater, however, still fans our parched souls with the God-given need to matter, but relieves us of the relentless pain of being the “It” Person at the center of it. To live for the greatness of God IS to live the great life. Oh, I know we’ve heard it before but what if something in us clicked all the sudden? What if we all at once awakened to what a dream-killer perfectionism is? And to how pitifully small and unworthy a goal personal greatness is? We were meant for so much more. Every one of us who embraces the glory of God as our lofty purpose for living will end up doing great things precisely because we end up doing God-things. His holy hand rested on the least act renders the ordinary extraordinary. Far from the least but sadly uncelebrated, spooning soup into the mouth of the weak and bed-bound or manning the church nursery so a tired mom can go to Sunday School are acts of highest worship when offered in the Name of Christ. Though the arrogant and ignorant minimize and miss it, Christ beholds the sight like a breathtaking work of art, tilting His head and squinting His eyes to study each subtle detail. “She has done a beautiful thing to me” (Mark 14:6).

Christ, the very One who called us to abundant, effective life and commanded us to splash in the cool springs of joy while living it, announced the secret to the great life without a hint of contradiction:

Pour it out lavishly, sacrificially for the glory of God and the good of man. Those with presence of mind and semblance of health are called to pour out the drink offering of their lives until the cup is turned completely over and every last drop of energy slips – perhaps unnoticed, uncelebrated – into the vast ocean of earthly need. The last imperceptible drop of your well-lived life will sound like a tidal wave hitting the floor of the Grand Canyon to the hosts of Heaven.

“I’m already great enough for both of us,” Christ says in effect, relieving the willing of their woeful burden. “Just follow Me.” For “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43-45).

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You might be a redneck

We had a fish fry at my mom and dad’s house last night. I just thought I’d share this heartwarming picture with you ladies.

If you serve your family ice cream with a garden spade because you couldn’t find the ice cream scoop – say it with me now – you might be a redneck! (Note from Beth: The weirdest part of this is that Keith wasn’t even trying to be funny. He was simply being practical. I saw his handiwork on the counter, motioned for AJ to look as fast as she could and she just happened to have her camera. I’m not sure he ever knew what the big deal was. Welcome to my home.)

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Behold Him There – A Post from Melissa

Siestas! Greetings from Atlanta!
First and foremost, I want to say a big thank-you to the many of you who took the time to submit your tried and true recipes to this greedy siesta! They were all wonderful, and I can honestly say that I have tried more than a few already. I believe it was “Warm in Alaska” who submitted the recipe for the roasted sweet potatoes, please correct me if I am wrong. Wow! Who would ever believe that fresh rosemary and crushed red pepper could transform a sweet potato into something heavenly??!!! They were unreal…and to be true to myself, I also had to add a few garlic cloves in the mix. Wonderful, I really could go on and on, but I will stop, for all of your sakes.

I am not sure if I informed you siestas that since I moved to Atlanta, I now work from home. This has brought about quite a few challenges, not the least of which is that I really miss the camaraderie that I have in my co-workers at Living Proof. Well, I have embraced this season of change from the hand of the living God and so have my mind set on staying positive about the minor difficulties. This has been quite difficult since about a month ago, not one but two of my computers were stolen, and then after losing an entire month of work, my brand new printer completely broke down. Now you can see why I am attracted to the kitchen as of late, since apparently my home office has some kind of demon.  I am seriously not exaggerating and this morning I woke up with such intense ambition to tackle my work day with both hands. Well, my BRAND NEW AND PRICEY computer apparently was not ready to wake up, because it honestly took an hour and a half to start the stupid thing. Well, as you can see, I did finally get the computer working, but as for my good attitude, it was completely shot out the window. I realized, after calling my Mom and vomiting my discouragement all over her at 8:30 in the morning, that something was going to have to happen or I was going to be a foul person to be around today.

The good news is that I know what almost always obliterates my bad attitude. This may sound silly, but when I know that I am inconsolable, I listen to the song “Before the Throne of God Above” about three or four times, or however many times it takes to change my bad attitude. I happen to listen to Selah’s version from the album “Hiding Place” but I am sure that there are many good versions of it since it was written in the mid-late 1800’s (written by Charitie Less Bancroft).
To use South Beach Diet jargon, these lyrics are not just white bread; these lyrics contain whole, unprocessed oats. I am humiliated by the metaphor I carved, but I mean seriously these lyrics are heavily saturated with great theological truths. Take a minute to read through them if you will:

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea
A great High Priest whose name is love
Who ever lives and pleads for me
My name is graven on His hands
My name is written on His heart
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
No tongue can bid me thence depart

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

Behold Him there! The risen Lamb
My perfect, spotless, Righteousness
The Great unchangeable I AM
The King of Glory and of Grace
One with Himself I cannot die
My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ my Savior and my God
With Christ my Savior and my God

By the time I get to the third verse in this blessed song (“Behold Him there! The risen Lamb”), I can barely fight the tears back. My mind is always drawn immediately back to the vision that John sees in the book of Revelation of the risen Christ! If I could, I would take all day to break down the many wonderful theological truths that are offered in this song, but since we don’t have all day, I just want to record three of my favorite ones. To begin, the first verse presents Jesus very similarly to the way the book of Hebrews does, as our great high priest who is ever interceding for us. What could be better than that, I ask you? Next, the second verse reminds us of the great doctrine of imputed righteousness- namely, that when sinful man truly acknowledges Christ’s lordship and places faith in Him, that immediately the righteousness of Christ is transferred to his or her account. Truly, one of the major scandals of the gospel message is that just as Adam’s sin is imputed to every human being, Christ’s righteousness is imputed to every believer and subsequently they are being changed into his likeness (Rom. 5:12; 2 Cor. 3:18). What great news! Especially when I have been cursing the computer all morning long!

Lastly, the third verse lifts our eyes to focus once again on the unchangeable I AM, who is equated with the person of Jesus Christ, I might add. Okay, now that we’ve gotten to end of this, there is just one more theological truth I have to mention- our union with Christ Himself! This is one of my favorite doctrines ever! Romans chapter 6 is one of the main biblical sources that we derive this doctrine. I encourage you to read it today, it is just awesome. Our lives are hidden with Christ on high, and we have the privilege of identifying with Him in His life, death, and His resurrection. In a very real way, ladies, we not only died with Christ but the text says we were raised with Him in His glorious resurrection. Our lives are hidden with Him until the future age when we will reign with Him forever in the new creation.

Oh Siestas, take a moment with me to forget about flawed computers and broken printers and behold Him there! The risen Lamb! Our perfect spotless Righteousness! The Great Unchangeable I AM! THE KING OF GLORY AND OF GRACE!

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Sopapilla Cheesecake

I hope you girls feel loved because as soon as I post this, my secret is out! I teased my gourmet chef sister about this having all kinds of exotic ingredients that I couldn’t pronounce. Does “crescent” qualify as a hard-to-pronounce word? This is a really simple, yummy recipe that is more impressive than it should be. It’s a favorite fellowship dinner dessert from First Baptist Irving. Thanks, Janelle, for supplying me with the recipe! In fact, she may be making this tonight for her bunco group.

Sopapilla Cheesecake

Ingredients:
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese
2 (8 oz) packages refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or almond extract
1/2 cup margarine or butter, melted
1/2 cup cinnamon sugar (combine about 1/2 cup sugar with 1 TBS cinnamon)

1) Using a 9×13 baking pan, unroll one package of refrigerated crescent rolls and line the bottom of the pan.
2) Flatten.
3) Mix together the cream cheese, sugar, and extract.
4) Spread over the crescent rolls.
5) Unroll the other can of crescent rolls and place on top of cream cheese mixture.
6) Pour one stick of melted butter or margarine over the top and sprinkle with about 1/2 cup of the cinnamon sugar mixture.
7) Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Makes 12-20 servings. My recipe provides the fat and calorie content, but I promise you don’t want to know! Enjoy, ladies!

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