Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hope 4 Joplin 2011 Tornado video

These numbers are even higher now.  Thank you everyone for your support and prayers.  We've got a long way to go; but, the generosity, love, and prayers you all are providing are making recovery much much easier.

Our family lives 10 miles from Joplin.  My husband, Lowell Lane, is the operations manager for the Joplin Family Worship Center relief organization.  If you want to help by volunteering or making a donation, we can help you get your help to the folks of Joplin.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Getting the Itch....

I'm getting the itch.  I'll bet you're getting it, too.  Time to clean up and clear out again.  The excesses of Christmas always make me ready for cut backs.  I think I'll plan to have a yard sale the first weekend of March.  That gives me plenty of time to go through everything.  If I can just make some hard decisions.  Well, maybe I'll start next week.  ~grin~

Linking with Raising Homemakers.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

I Love the Lord!

Thank you God for your ultimate gift~ eternal life with You through your Son Jesus Christ!
This is from one of my favorite films, The Preacher's Wife.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Carol of the Bells for 12 Cellos

Hang in there ladies!  We're almost there!  Just a bit more cooking, shopping and wrapping!

Give yourself permission for good enough.  It doesn't have to be perfect.  They need a happy wife and mom!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

"If we would just back up and let God be God..."

"If we would just back up and let God be God, let the Holy Spirit do the work in a person's life, it's amazing what God will do if we shut up.  It's amazing.  I'm telling you... truth.  We really do think God— that God needs our help to change a life; but, God was God before you got here."
T.D. Jakes

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Two Meals From a Large Package of Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

Last week I put a large package of boneless chicken breasts in the crock pot, seasoned them with lots of salt and pepper, and let them cook on low all day. 

The meat was fork tender; so, I shredded it and let it set in the broth for a few minutes.  I used half of the chicken to make bbq sandwiches with Bull's Eye original bbq sauce.

I used the broth and the other half for hot chicken sandwiches.I made a gravy with the broth then added shredded chicken to the gravy.  I then piled up the meal: a slice of bread followed by mashed potatoes and then smothered in chicken and gravy.  Ooh yum!

Think creatively ladies!
Happy at Home

January Linky

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Thrilling Christmas Time on the Frontier by “A Pastor’s Wife”

A Thrilling Christmas Time on the Frontier by “A Pastor’s Wife”

I remember a day one winter that stands out like a boulder in my life. The weather was unusually cold; our salary had not been regularly paid and it did not meet our needs when it was.
My husband was away much of the time, traveling from one district to another. Our boys were well, but my little Ruth was ailing and at best none of us were decently clothed. I patched and re -patched, with spirits sinking to the lowest ebb. The water gave out in the well and the wind blew through the cracks in the floor.
The people in the parish were kind, and generous too, but the settlement was new and each family was struggling for itself. Little by little, at the time I needed it most, my faith began to waver.
Early in life I was taught to take God at His word, and I thought my lesson was well learned. I had lived upon the promises in dark times until I knew, as David did, who was my Fortress and my Deliverer. Now a daily prayer for forgiveness was all that I could offer.
My husband’s overcoat was hardly thick enough for October, and he was often obliged to ride miles to attend some meeting or funeral.
Christmas was coming; the children always expected their presents. I remember the ice was thick and smooth and the boys were each craving a pair of skates. Ruth, in some unaccountable way, had taken a fancy that the doll I had made were no longer suitable; she wanted a nice large one, and insisted on praying for it.
I knew it was impossible, but, oh! how I wanted to give each child his present. It seemed as if God had deserted us. But I did not tell my husband all this. He worked so earnestly and heartily, I supposed him to be as hopeful as ever. I kept the sitting room cheerful with an open fire, and I tried to serve our scanty meals as invitingly as I could.
That morning before Christmas, James was called to see a sick man. I put up a piece of bread for his lunch–it was the best I could do–wrapped my plaid shawl around his neck and then tried to whisper a promise as I often had, but the words died away upon my lips. I let him go without it.
That was a dark, hopeless day. I coaxed the children to bed early, for I could not bear their talk. When Ruth went, I listened for her prayer. She asked for the last time most explicitly for her doll and for skates for her brothers. Her bright face looked so lovely when she whispered to me,
“You know I think they’ll be here early tomorrow morning, Mama” that I thought I could move Heaven and earth to save her from disappointment. I sat down alone and gave way to the most bitter tears.
Before long James returned, chilled and exhausted. He drew off his boots. The thin stockings clipped off with them and his feet were red with cold. “I wouldn’t treat a dog that way; let alone a faithful servant,” I said. Then as I glanced up and saw the hard lines in his face and the look of despair, it flashed across me that James had let go too.
I brought him a cup of tea, feeling sick and dizzy at the very thought. He took my hand and we sat for an hour without a word. I wanted to die and meet God and tell Him His promise wasn’t true–my soul was so full of rebellious despair.
There came a sound of bells, a quick step and a loud knock at the door. James sprang to open it. There stood Deacon White. “A box came by express just before dark. I brought it around as soon as I could get away. Reckoned it might be for Christmas. ‘At any rate’ I said, ‘they shall have it tonight.’ Here is a turkey my wife asked me to fetch along and these other things I believe belong to you.”
There were a basket of potatoes, and a bag of flour. Talking all the time, he hurried in the box and then with a hearty good night, he rode away.
Still without speaking, James found a chisel and opened the box. He drew out first a thick red blanket and we saw that beneath it, the box was full of clothing. It seemed at that moment as if Christ fastened upon me a look of reproach. James sat down and covered his face with his hands. “I can’t touch them,” he explained. “I haven’t been true, just when God was trying me to see if I could hold out. Do you think I could not see how you were suffering? And I had no word of comfort to offer. I know now how to preach the awfulness of turning away from God.”
“James,” I said, clinging to him, “don’t take it to heart like this. I am to blame. I ought to have helped you. We will ask Him together to forgive us.”
We poured out words of praise–Bible words, for nothing else could express our thanksgiving.
It was eleven o’ clock; the fire was low and there was the great box with nothing touched but the warm blanket we needed. We piled on some fresh logs, lighted two candles and began to examine our treasures.
We drew out an overcoat. I made James try it on–just the right size–and I danced around him, for all my lightheartedness had returned. There was a cloak and he insisted on seeing me in it. My spirits always infected him and we both laughed like foolish children.
There was a warm suit of clothes also and three pairs of woolen hose. There were a dress for me and yards of flannel, a pair of arctic overshoes for each of us and in mine a slip of paper. I have it now and mean to hand it down to my children. It was Jacob’s blessing to Asher: “Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days so shall thy strength be.”
In the gloves, evidently for James, the same dear hand had written: “I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”
It was a wonderful box and packed with thoughtful care. There were a suit of clothes for each of the boys and a little red gown for Ruth. There were mittens, scarf, and hood, and down in the center–a box. We opened it and there was a great wax doll!! I burst into tears again and James wept with me for joy. It was too much! And then we both exclaimed again, for close behind it came two pairs of skates. There were books for us to read–some of them I had wished to see–stories for the children to read, aprons and underclothing, knots of ribbon, a gay little tidy, a lovely photograph, needles, buttons, and thread, a muff, and an envelope containing a ten dollar gold piece.
At last we cried over everything we took up. It was past midnight and we were faint and exhausted even with happiness. I made a cup of tea, cut a fresh loaf of bread and James boiled some eggs. We drew up the table before the fire. How we enjoyed our supper! And then we sat talking over our life and how sure a help God always proved.
You should have seen the children the next morning! The boys raised a shout at the sight of their skates–Ruth caught up her doll and hugged it tightly without a word; then she went into her room and knelt by her bed.
When she came back she whispered to me, “I knew it would be here Mama, but I wanted to thank God just the same, you know.”
“Look here, Wife, see the difference!” We went to the window and there were the boys out of the house already and skating on the crust with all their might.
My husband and I both tried to return thanks to the church in the East that sent us the box–and have tried to return thanks unto God every day since.
Hard times have come again and again, but we have trusted in Him–dreading nothing so much as a doubt of His protecting care. “They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.”

Reprinted by permission from Lizzie at A Dusty Frame.  She typed it up from a very old book.

Linking with Raising Homemakers.

Review: A Promise of Hope by Amy Clipston

Secrets, betrayal, lies, fears, and restless nights all revolve around Peter, Sarah's husband, who died in a fire.  Inner struggles arise when Luke comes to Bird-in-Hand to find his relative Peter.  Who is Luke, really?  Who was Peter, really?  Can Sarah trust either man?  Was her marriage a fake?

Sarah Troyer is reeling from the shock of losing her husband in a fire while carrying his first child twins.  DeLana is mystified when Peter's letters stop abruptly.  What is her connection to Peter, an Amish man?  Luke's father has died leaving Luke determined to find Peter and reconnect with family only to find that Peter claimed to be an orphan.  Norman, a fine Amish widower hopes to help Sarah through the grieving process and a bit more.

Set in quaint Lancaster County among buggies and a plain Amish life, A Promise of Hope, Amy Clipston has continued the character development of the Kauffman family and friends in this the second book of the Kauffman Amish Bakery Series.  The first was A Gift of Grace.

I really enjoy Amy Clipston's style of writing.  My teacher in high school used to say, "Don't tell me, show me."  I think Mrs. Clipston is excellent at drawing word pictures.  Thanks for another great book!
*I received this book from Zondervan in exchange for an honest review.
"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

In Christ Alone

Nativity Art Print

Nativity by Jon McNaughton Item #: 5244378 available from

In Christ alone, I make my boast.

He gives me breath.  Genesis 2:7
He gives me life. Jeremiah 10:23
He gives me hope for the future. Psalm 42:5
He gives me faith.  Hebrews 11:1
He gives me peace with my past. Romans 5:1
He gives me wisdom. Proverbs 2:1-6
He gives me love. 1 John 4:10
He gives me eternal security in insecure times. John 14:27
He gives me provision for my needs. Philipians 4:10-20
He gives me the ability to look beyond myself to care for others. John 13:34-35
He meets me where I am and takes me to where he wants me to be.  Jeremiah 6:16, Deuteronomy 31:8
In Christ alone, I make my boast.

Friday, December 9, 2011

It Began as a Comment About Giving

It began as a comment about giving on Annie's blog, Scrappalachia.  As I wrote, I thought I should share it with you, too.

We have seen miraculous giving over the last 7 months.  My husband is director of operations for the Joplin, Missouri Tornado Relief effort at Joplin Family Worship Center.

Thousands of volunteers have come to help from across America and the world.  Millions of dollars worth of supplies have passed through our hands and been distributed to those affected by the tornado.  We have served thousands of meals and continue to do so. 

We want to be, as our pastor says, "Jesus with skin on".

It's what our family and our church has been doing to give, it's what we'll be doing to give for another four or five years.  It has changed us.  It's now who we are.  We are blessed to be a blessing.

If you or your readers would like to help by volunteering or donating, please go to for information on how to help us help Joplin.

Please pray for Joplin.  It will be a very difficult season for many people.  Counselors are seeing a lot of post traumatic stress and depression. 

Happy Christmas!
Laura Lane

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pork Loin with Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Last evening's dinner, pork loin with garlic mashed potatoes and peas.
My husband just posted the recipe at his blog.

It was delicious!

Encourage One Another

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tree Trimming Tradition

Tonight's the night.
We're going to decorate the Christmas tree.
I give the children an ornament each year.
We put the ornaments on the tree chronologically beginning with the wired gold tinsel "I love you" that my husband made for me while we were dating.  I tell the story of our life as we go, something from each year. My husband usually hangs our couple ornaments.  The children begin adding their ornaments when we get to their birth year.  If they complain, I just tell them they're not born yet!

Linking with

Monday, December 5, 2011

Making Merry Tonight

Enjoyed the Christmas parade tonight with old friends and family.

Ah, tradition!

Seasonal Work Wanted

There's always a bit more seasonal work around Christmas isn't there?

I'm doing extra cleaning, extra planning, extra baking, extra cooking, extra making, and extra decorating.

How is your seasonal work coming?

Are you keeping your focus on Christ, on those you love, and those less fortunate?

Happy Advent!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Are You Going Home for Christmas?

Are you going home for Christmas?
Have you written you'll be there?
Going home to kiss the mother
and to show her that you care?
Going home to greet the father
in a way to make him glad?
If you're not, I hope there'll never come
a time you'll wish you had.
Just sit down and write a letter-
it will make their heart strings hum
with a tune of perfect gladness
if you'll tell them that you'll come.

~Edgar Guest

I encourage you to pick up the phone or a pen right now and reach out to your momma, your dad, and your loved ones.  There's a reason people send Christmas cards this time of year.

Happy Christmastime!

*Click painting to get the free screensaver.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas is The Season

"Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall,
the genial flame of charity in the heart."
~Washington Irving

It seems we grow so very busy around Christmas time.  What are we busy with?  Is it shopping, cooking, cleaning, worrying that we aren't buying enough...doing enough?  Could it be that maybe, just maybe, we need to rethink the whole month of December?
What's most important?
Who's most important?
Can we make a choice and a plan right now to focus on those two things?
The goal is to spend this month doing those things that really matter with those who really matter.

First, set some time aside, fifteen minutes, an hour, and afternoon, whatever you have.  Use this time to brainstorm what is most important to you and your family this month.  This will be different for each family.  It may even be different for each family member.  Now is the time to get your thoughts on paper; then, speak with your husband and even your children.  Consider traditions, hospitality, giving, creating things, cooking, Advent activities, church activities.  Which things are most important?  Which things are you ready to let go?  Think about how much time and preparation each of those things will take.

Next, think about who's most important.  Your husband and children are a given.  Extended family?  Friends?  Church members whom you don't know well but would like to get to know?  Your children's friends?  Business associates?  Your best girlfriends?  The new family in the neighborhood, strangers?  You get the idea.  Who do you want to make sure that you make time for this month?

Now, think about your home, family, homeschool, business, and church activities.  How do they fit into the calendar?  Do they meet the most important criteria?  Is there anything that needs to be pruned for a season? 

Now's the time to think and plan for all these things.  Fit these things into the calendar leaving white space on your calendar for quiet evenings at home and for spontaneity and rest.  This will be challenging but worth it.  You can do this.   You can make this the best Christmastime ever by doing what is most important to you with those who are most important to you.

*Click the picture to get the free wallpaper.

Fridays Unfolded