Monday, December 31, 2012

Let's Start the New Year Right

To truly start the new year right, we must take some time with God to wrap up the old year.  He wants us to give Him our whole hearts.  What's been holding you back from all He has for you?  Now is the time to get alone with Him for a little while so that you can truly start the new year right with Jesus.

Do you know Jesus?  Would you like to?

I accepted Him as my savior 33 years ago on New Year's Day.  Jim Bakker was on the PTL club show interviewing an ex-drug addict.  I thought, if Jesus can forgive a drug addict, maybe He can forgive me, too.  I was 14.  Just old enough to feel the burden of sin.  That thought led to a month long journey of "finding" God.  When I went back to school, I asked Kim, a girl on my bus, if I could go to church with her.  I'm sure she was stunned.  I went to church with her, and one of my neighbors attended her church.  From that point on, Pat Sidebottom showed up every Sunday rain or shine.  I was going to church.  She stood up to my mom and weekly attendance was established.  Period.  No discussion.  Better be sicker than a dog if I tried to back out.  ~smile~  Thank God for Pat!  By the end of the month, I'd been saved and baptised.  Rolling Hills Christian Church.  Good salt-of-the-earth people.

My life changed slowly; but, I can honestly say, I'm nothing like I was.  You seriously would not have wanted to know this angry teenager who had been told she was worthless until she believed it.   It's been a long journey.  God has transformed me.  Reading His word has transformed me.  Praying has transformed me.  Worshiping God has transformed me.  Being with God's people has transformed me.  Thank you God! 

I have to wonder what the next year will be like.  After all, I'll be thirty-three. 

Have a terrific New Year's Eve and Day.

Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage,
Happy at Home

Shared with:
Wholehearted Home

Friday, December 28, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Laura's Sweet Potato Casserole

Mix together:
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes,
1 cup sugar,
1/2 cup butter,
2 beaten eggs,
1 t vanilla
1/3 cup evaporated milk
Pour into well-greased casserole.
1/2 cup brown sugar,
1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 T butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Mix together topping ingredients except pecans until crumbly.
Sprinkle over potatoes, then sprinkle with nuts.
Bake at 350 degrees 30 minutes.
If you wish, add marshmallows during last ten minutes.
Makes an 8x8 pan.
A 32 oz can of yams will make one recipe.

Shared with:
No Rules - We Did it Wednesday - Mom's the Word

This is Why We Do It.

Emily as Mary

Friday, December 21, 2012

Blessings Beyond Measure... The Christmas Reach... Joplin MO

Thank you Kenneth Copeland Ministries for making a real difference in our community.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Not the Christmas I Planned....

A Christmas Memory
It was a very difficult year for us.  Money was tighter than tight.  I was unable to do my Christmas shopping until the Tuesday before Christmas.

Two of my children came down with strep throat the weekend before Christmas. My husband took them to the ER. They got shots and felt better the next day.

 I wasn't feeling well and hadn't for weeks; so, I stayed home from church with my youngest child. The next day was Monday. I woke up so sick, I thought I had strep as well. I slept the entire day.  When my husband came home, he took me to the ER.  I was so sick, I didn't realize what was happening until I woke up and found that I had been admitted to the hospital ! I told them I had to get out because I had Christmas shopping to do. They didn't buy it. I had pneumonia.  So, my husband got to do his first Christmas shopping with a carefully written list.

The children were devastated and worried about me.  The children weren't able to visit because of the strep they'd had. It was a sad Christmas week for them. I was too sick to be sad. Finally, late Christmas Eve, the doctor sent me home with strict instructions to rest rest rest. My husband brought me home as a surprise to the children. They thought he was just visiting me. It was a joyous Christmas Eve after all.
The next day, we spent a slow relaxed day, just hubby, the kids and I.  No turkey.  No fancy meal.  By Friday, I felt better and my husband invited friends over to share our belated Christmas dinner.
It was probably the most blessed Christmas we ever had.
It was definitely memorable!

I hope you have the most wonderful of Christmas seasons.

Happy at Home

You may enjoy.... 
He Crowns the Humble with Salvation...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Christmas Miracle on the Frontier

"A Thrilling Christmas Miracle 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 dolls 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, The Sword Book of Treasures by Dr. John R. Rice, published in 1946 gem. .

May I suggest?

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Snuggly Good Book... God Gave Us Christmas

Hello everyone!
Every year our family gets a new Christmas book.  Usually it's a new picture book, never mind that my oldest is 21 and my youngest is 11!  We're just not thinking about babies growing up right now.  ~smile~  I always wrap them up in Christmas paper and let one of the children or Poppa open the book.   Although I've already given a book to the family for this year, I decided to review this book, God Gave Us Christmas, because Amy was interested in it.  I thought, why not two books? 

This is  an adorable little book about learning what Christmas is, why Christmas is, and who Christmas is all about.  The little bear begins thinking that maybe it's Santa Claus that gives us Christmas, but momma bear sets him straight.  It's all about God.  Little bear wants to find Santa. momma bear takes him to find God, because he's everywhere.  Little Cub learns of Jesus. 

I like that this book points to Jesus, just like all of nature does.  It seemed a little funny to me to have bears talk about Jesus' birth, but they showed real people celebrating at church.  My eleven year old daughter really liked it.  I asked her if we could give it away, after all, it's intended for younger children, maybe up to about second or third grade.  She insisted we keep it.  So, keep it we shall and enjoy it yearly until she decides she's too grown up. The bright, colorful, illustrations will appeal to young children.  I can imagine reading it to my grandlittles someday. 

"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this 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."

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sending You a Little Christmas!

This is one of my favorite contemporary Christmas songs.

The pianist is Jim Brickman, the soloist is Cristy Starling.

A dear friend's soldier son will be home to his new wife for their first Christmas!

Thank you God!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Frugal Fun for the Christmas Season! Free Kindle Books

Free Kindle E-books!

The Christmas Angel by Abbie Farwell Brown

The Christmas Child by Hesba Stretton and Kate Street

On Christmas Day in the Morning by Grace S. (Grace Smith) Richmond 

Christmas:  Its Origin and Associations Together with Its Historical Events and Festive Celebrations During Nineteen Centuries by William Francis Dawson

Christmas in Ritual and Tradition, Christian and Pagan by Clement A. Miles

The Children's Book of Christmas Stories by Asa Don Dickinson and Ada M. Skinner

Frugal Fun for the Christmas Season!

Blessed by my Savior's Sacrifice

These were free at the time of publishing.  Do check to see that they are still free prior to ordering.
May I suggest?
Decorating for Christmas

Shared with:
Deep Roots at Home
Fresh Eggs Daily
Cozy Book Hop.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Isn't He Wonderful?

Glory to God!  Thank You God!
Never will I have words to describe
your love, your sacrifice, your
willingness to stretch forth your arms
for us.

Thank you is just too small a way
to express my gratitude.

I Love You Lord my Strength.

In Love with My Savior

Monday, December 3, 2012

Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas by Ace Collins

Christmas of long ago.  It's not always been commercial.  It's not always been about Santa Claus.  But, did you know that it's not always been about Jesus?  Christmas used to be about wild parties and worshipping everything but Jesus.  Until the nineteenth century.  Someone with a "round little belly that shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly" and someone who thought Christmas a humbug, or rather their authors, made a huge impact on how Christmas has been celebrated ever since. 
I like to read Christmas books aloud to the children during December.  They can count this one as history!  Ace Collins tells stories of the origins of Advent, Boxing Day, candy canes, the colors of Christmas, holly, mistletoe, gifts, lights, stockings, poinsettias, Xmas, and fifteen other Christmas traditions.  Some of the origins might just surprise you. 

Zondervan's description:

"The cheer of a crackling hearth fire.
Colorful cards from friends and loved ones.
An evergreen tree festooned with ornaments.
The golden traditions of Christmas---gifts, wreaths, stockings, carols, mistletoe, and more---infuse our celebration of the season with meaning and glowing memories. And, in ways you may not realize, they point us to the birth of Christ.
Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas reveals the people, places, and events that shaped the best-loved customs of this merriest of holidays. Here are spiritual insights, true-life tales, and captivating legends to intrigue you and your family and bring new luster and depth to your celebration of Jesus’ birth. Discover how
* after eighteen centuries of all but ignoring the event, churches began to open the door for believers to commemorate Jesus’ incarnation.
* the evergreen tree, once a central theme in the worship practices of pagan cultures, came to represent the everlasting love of God.
* the magi’s three gifts---gold, frankincense, and myrrh---are filled with spiritual symbolism.
The traditions of Christmas lend beauty, awe, and hope to the holiday, causing people all over the world to anticipate it with joy. The stories in this book will warm your heart as you rediscover the true and eternal significance of Christmas."

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."

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Big Batch of Free Kindle Christmas Classics

After you're finished baking that big batch of Christmas cookies, grab a couple and relax awhile with one of these free Kindle titles. 

Twas the Night Before Christmas A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Moore

Christmas with Grandma Elsie by Martha Finley

A Christmas Sermon by Robert Louis Stevenson

Betty's Bright Idea; Deacon Pitkin's Farm; and the First Christmas of New England by Harriet Beecher Stowe

The Spirit of Christmas by Henry Van Dyke

Christmas Eve by Robert Browning

The First Christmas Tree, A Story of the Forest by Henry Van Dyke

A Christmas Greeting, A Series of Stories by Hans Christian Anderson

Savoring the Season
with my Savior

NOTE:  Although the links show an affiliate link, I am no longer an Amazon affiliate.