Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Don't Begin Reading This Before Bed! Prophet by R.J. Larson

Oh my oh my!
It's a good thing that I received this over the weekend! This is an absolutely gripping novel. I was quickly drawn into another world with snowy ashes falling down upon a village in the country of Parne. Ela, a young girl of 17, is drawn to find the source of the ashes choking her village. Suddenly, in a flash, she sees the destruction, hears the cries, witnesses the slaughter. So begins the journey of The Prophet of the Infinite One.

R.J. Larson has crafted a tale so vivid, so mesmerizing, I read it hungrily. Such depth of understanding and careful interweaving allegory reveals spiritual truths of our own true and mighty Creator God. Jesus Himself used stories to communicate truth to those who had ears to hear. This book of fantasy has settled truths into my spirit.

Courage, determination, duty, faith, honor, hope and trust fill pages that are full of treachery, fear, anger, torment, betrayal, and battles. This is the first of the Books of the Infinite.

I highly recommend this book, especially to those who enjoy fantasy, adventure, and allegories. There is nothing objectionable in the way it is written. No improper relationships or language. I have passed it to my mature 14 year old daughter to read.

Read the back cover:
"Close your eyes, Ela of Parne. Close your eyes and you will see.
Ela Roeh of Parne doesn't understand why her beloved Creator, the Infinite, wants her to become His prophet. She's undignified, bad tempered, and only seventeen--not to mention that no prophet of Parne has ever been a girl. Worst of all, as the elders often warn, if she agrees to become the Infinite's prophet, Ela knows she will die young.

Istgard has turned their back on me. See the evil they do.

Yet after experiencing His presence, she can't imagine living without Him. Determined to follow the Infinite's voice, Ela accepts the sacred vinewood branch and is sent to bring the Infinite's word to a nation torn apart by war. Here she meets Kien, a young Traceland ambassador determined to bring his own justice for his oppressed people. As they form an unlikely partnership, Ela must surrender to her destiny... and determine how to balance the leading of her heart with the leading of the Infinite.

Will you accept the branch and speak my will? Will you be my prophet?"

Warning! Do not start this right before bed. I started at 11:00 p.m. and tore myself from the pages at 1:45 a.m.

Retail $14.99
Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0971-0

I received this book from Bethany House 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."
Linking with:
Faith Filled Friday
Cozy Book Hop Literary Musing Mondays

Reading... An Hour a Day Every Day

An hour a day...that's what it takes. An hour a day every day. From the time the children were very small, I read aloud to them. When they became readers themselves, I began requiring each of them to to read for half an hour. As soon as they were reading chapter books, that stretched to an hour a day. No need to keep on with reading lessons. They learn comprehension as they read. They narrate to me. It's clear by their narrations whether they understand what they are reading. They become more fluent as they read.
An hour a day... all of my children love to read.
I think it's working.

May I suggest?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Forever Changed

Although we live about 10 miles east of Joplin, our lives were forever changed a year ago.
We are honored to serve the Joplin community with Joplin Family Worship Center.  God has done something very significant in Joplin.  The faith community has come together from across the country and from several foreign countries in a dramatic and miraculous way.  When you face a tragedy like Joplin's, denominations don't matter.  You realize that we're God's children; and, we're here to be Jesus with skin on to those around us in need.

My family is in the very last photo on the video.  From front left, Emily, Amy, Laura, Michael.  Lowell is in the back on the left.  We've come a long way.  Most of the wreckage is cleared away.  The immediate needs have been met.  Now it's a matter of helping with the rebuilding of homes, businesses, and lives.

Thank you to everyone who has helped
and prayed for Joplin. 
May God the Father,
the Lord Jesus Christ,
and the Holy Spirit richly bless you.

Shared at:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Starting Our Work Early in the Day

Do you ever feel like you're behind from the moment you awake in the morning?  Maybe the alarm went off but you didn't rise?  Just five or ten more minutes, as though the fatigue will flee if you wait just a bit longer?  This is something I struggle with a lot.  We tend to burn the midnight oil a little too often at my house.  I've been thinking about this lately— perhaps because the early mornings hold such promise.  I know that on the days that I get up and moving before the kids awaken I feel calmer and more in control.  So, with that in mind, I've decided to make changes.  Oh, the fear and trepidation of writing this where my husband can see it!

I intend to:

Rise earlier.
Spend time with God.
Plan my day.
Get busy.

Won't you join me?
Happy at Home
May I suggest?
Make Do and Mend

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Review: Brush of Angel's Wings

Brush of Angel's Wings

by Ruth Reid
Published by Thomas Nelson

Rachel's brother was killed in a tragic accident.  She stepped in and filled his shoes by working with her father on farm chores.  Until a stranger shows up in the barn one morning.  Jordan was hired by Rachel's father, to work so that Rachel could concentrate on the womanly skills of cooking and homemaking, something she showed definite deficiencies in.  She was after all, getting older, and needed to find a husband. 20!

Well, she'd show him!  She tries to get up earlier and do more and everything backfires on her.  Jordan doesn't leave.  In fact, an unexpected twist makes him more needed than ever.  Throughout, Nathaniel, an angel and Tangis, a demon, speak to Rachel and Jordan in an effort to influence them. 
This was skillfully written.  The way Nathaniel and Tangis interacted with the characters and with each other was revealing.  Spiritual truth is woven throughout.  It was a very inspiring story.  There were a couple of times I just wanted to tell the Rachel to cut it out and be nice. ~smile~

The unexpected twists and turns kept me turning pages.  Lots of drama with other characters in the book added variety.   It was quite enjoyable.
Four Stars
I review for BookSneeze®I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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.”

Shared with:  Cozy Book Hop

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Have You Met Jesus?

One of the Joplin residents took this photo directly after the tornado.

Have you met Jesus?
Would you like to?
He has completely changed my life, who I am, how I live. I am forgiven for all the bad I've thought or done. Christians really are not perfect. We really do have forgiveness from God the creator of all because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

I have peace with God.
I have hope for my future.
Do you?

Friday, May 18, 2012

5 Days of Frugal Eating Desserts


When your budget is super tight, like mine has been often over the last few years, getting supper on the table is a challenge in itself.  It's tempting to overlook the extras like dessert.  During times of financial strain, the special things like a little something sweet at the end of the day are all the more inviting.  Sometimes a little dessert just makes everything seem a little less bleak and a little more doable.  Shallow?  Maybe.  Effective?  I think so.

Go through your cookbooks.  Look for recipes that use only ingredients you usually have on hand.  That way you can have your sweet treat without spending extra money.  Here are some ideas:

Homemade Cocoa
No Bake Cookies
Oatmeal Cookies
Raisin Bread Pudding
Sugar Cookies

With a little searching and baking, you can keep your family happy.

... pray
... do with whatcha got
... be thankful and content
... you can do this!

Happy at Home

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

5 Days of Frugal Eating ~ Supper

Keeping the family fed on a very small budget can be done. You must think creatively and positively. It will take more work. Time must be allotted to bake and cook. It's not convenient; but, it's possible, necessary, and satisfying.

Homemade bread, biscuits, cornbread or other homemade bread will round out the meal and fill tummies.  Add a salad or vegetables as possible.  Once again, this is not intended as a nutritionally balanced way of cooking but as a survival, get by until payday, or get through this time of unemployment kind of eating.

In order to keep food costs as low as possible in difficult times, you must think of meat as flavoring or as a side dish. These are some of our favorites. 

Chicken and Dumplings  using backs and necks or a whole chicken.  If you use the whole chicken, save the majority of the meat for another meal.

Ham and Beans and Cornbread

Burritos with Homemade Refried Beans and tortillas.  You can find tortilla recipes online and even on YouTube.

Hamburger Gravy over Biscuits using a pound or less of hamburger—

*Cowboy Beans

1 lb of pinto beans
1 chopped onion
2-4 chopped garlic cloves
1-2 T chili powder
2 t oregano
2 t cumin
1/2 t cayenne pepper
Add salt to taste after the beans are tender.  Salting during earlier stages of cooking could result in tough beans.

Pick out any dirt, stones, or uglies and rinse beans in cold water.  Put them in a bowl with enough water to cover them with about 2-3 inches extra. Soak the beans overnight.  You can make them without soaking; but, I think they cook better if soaked first. 

Crockpot instructions:
Rinse the beans after soaking.  Place all ingredients in the Crockpot.  Add water to fill the pot or at least 2-3 inches above the ingredients.  Cook on low all day or high 4-6 hours until beans are tender.  If they are not tender an hour before you want to eat, transfer to a pot on the stove to finish.

Stove instructions:  Same as Crock Pot instructions, just bring to a boil on the stove and then simmer about 2 hours until beans are soft.

If you can eat these around a campfire or by a fireplace, it's all the better. ~smile~

Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

5 Days of Frugal Eating Baking

Praying was the foundation of making do in hard times. In the kitchen, the very best thing I did to keep my family fed during hard times was to bake.  There's a reason why bread is called the staff of life.  It's nutritious and filling.  When I had money for nothing else, I made sure I had basic baking ingredients.

At the worst of times, during a time when we had no regular income, I needed the following ingredients to make sure we ate something:

  • flour
  • baking powder
  • canola oil
  • milk
  • salt

With these ingredients, I could make old-fashioned biscuits.  We literally survived on these during a couple of hard times in our life.  A little butter, apple butter, or jelly, if available, really make these more tasty.  I adapted the recipe from one in an old cookbook from the early 1900's. 

If you can add cornmeal to your shopping list, you can make cornbread.  We use the recipe on the back of the Quaker cornmeal box.  My daughter adds extra sugar to make it sweeter. ~smile~

If you can add yeast to your shopping list, you can make bread.  Recipes abound on the internet.

You have to have the mindset of "Do with whatcha got."  Whatever it is, whatever is in your hand, you have to think creatively about what to do with it.  A meal can be just bread and whatever you can find to put on it.  Butter, margarine, jelly, molasses, honey, peanut butter, think creatively. We actually do this on purpose as a last supper on the Thursday before Easter. We, as a family, take communion with homemade bread and grape juice, then we make a meal of it. I started this way back in the day before I knew what they ate for Passover. ~wink~

Creative thinking is key to surviving hard times.  Even not so hard times are enhanced by creative thinking.

Prayer is key to surviving hard times.  God can give you hope for the future, creative ideas and plans, and necessary provision.  Reach out to Him.  He's waiting to help.  He didn't take Noah out of the storm.  He gave him a way to rise above it.

You can do this!
Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

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This article was published in issue #137 of 


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

5 Days of Frugal Eating Lunch

Day 2

One of the benefits of being a homeschooler is being home for lunch.  These are some of the frugal things my family eats for lunch at home:

Stir-fried cabbage
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Dried beef gravy over biscuits
Biscuits and jelly
Homemade bread
Homemade rolls
Egg salad sandwiches*
Fried egg sandwiches*
Can Opener Soup

*Eggs are cheap for us.  We have our own hens. 

The key is to think creative not fancy.  We don't have to have meat at every meal.  Do with whatcha got.  ~smile~  Look and see what you've got and how you might combine it.

You can do this!

Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage,

Related Posts:

Friday, May 4, 2012

Review: The Messenger

"Hannah Sunderland felt content in her embrace of the Quaker faith... until her twin brother joined the Colonial cause and ended up in jail. She longs to bring some measure of comfort to him in the squalid prison, but her faith forbids it. The Friends believe that they are not to take sides, not to take up arms. She is not allowed to visit him, even if she were able to secure a pass.

Jeremiah Jones, a Colonial spy, needs access to the jail to help rescue men important to the cause. Upon meeting Hannah, a plan begins to develop. Who would suspect a pious Quaker visiting a loved one?

But Jeremiah is unprepared for Hannah, for her determination to do right, to not lie. How can one be a spy and not lie? Hannah, in turn, is surprised by Jeremiah... for the way he forces her to confront her own beliefs, for the sensitivity and concern that he shows her despite the wounds he still carries.
In a time of war, can two unlikely heroes find the courage to act?"
My thoughts:

Don't read this book before bed!

A couple of nights ago, I deciced to read The Messenger just before bed.  Um... bad idea.  The next thing I knew, it was one o'clock... and, I was still reading.  Just one more chapter.... just one more chapter....  Based upon a backdrop of the Revolutionary war, Jeremiah and Hannah tell the story in first person narrative.  It's rather like reading their diaries or listening over tea, or in Jeremiah's case, rum, as Hannah and Jeremiah each tell the deep thoughts of their hearts and the actions those thoughts bring forth. 

They each are fighting their own personal battles within themselves as well as the greater battle they find themselves in.  Jeremiah and Hannah find themselves embroiled in a plot not of their own choosing to try to free the prisoners in the King's prison.  Jeremiah and Hannah are like oil and water, one a tavern keeper who will serve whoever's winning and one a politically neutral Friend.

I learned a few new things about the colonial period, how the civilians were treated and reacted to that treatment, and the Quaker Friends faith.  I found this to be a well researched book.  The characters were well developed.  The inner struggles arising from a conflict of religion and principles were central to the theme.

I really liked the book.  While the book is complete, a sequel is possible; and, I want to read it.

Five stars

Disclosure:  Bethany House sent this book to me 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."

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Joplin is Counting on You!

Photo credit:  Branden Bethke

We're counting on you to remember Joplin in your prayers please. 

May 22, the one year anniversary of the tornado that devastated our community.  Lots of folks will be remembering and the memories are not good.  Hundreds of people still do not have homes of their own and hundreds are seeking jobs.  

We, at Joplin Family Worship Center, are partnering with God and with our community to be Jesus with skin on.  We're still very active in the relief and restoration effort.  We're still sending work teams to help with rebuilding and repair projects, giving out resources, and feeding survivors.  We're also housing and feeding volunteers.  We're expecting thousands of volunteers to help in the continuing clean up and rebuilding this summer. 

If you'd like to help us, please go to jfwc.org.  Every little bit helps.  If you get to come to help, be sure to ask my husband, Lowell Lane, to introduce us!  You'll know Lowell.  He's the one everyone asks everything.  ~smile~

Thanks so much for praying for us!