Friday, December 27, 2013

Bookish Answers

A Woman Reading by Candlelight
Peter Ilstead
Danish artist
I read a great post this morning over at Inspiration Café this morning, A Winter Blues Solution by Marci at Stone Cottage Adventures.  Take a look.  She asked four questions about reading.  Here are my answers.
1.  I am currently reading Carolina Gold by Dorothy Love.  Look for a review in January.  I've also started reading a non-fiction book, Jesus on Every Page.

2.  Favorite line- who can choose one?  Here's a favorite that I truly need to implement in my life- 
"Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life become a beautiful success, in spite of poverty."
~Louisa May Alcott Marmee's Advice Little Women

3.  I've reviewed 28 books this year.  I've read/listened to the Bible through three times with's reading plans.  I love to check those boxes. ~smile~  I don't know how many books I've read altogether.  I used to set a goal to read 50 books a year, but with the extra Bible I've been reading and listening to, I just don't have the time. 

4.  I think Anne of Green Gables was an excellent movie adaptation.  I was pleased with Little Women (Winona Ryder version).  I think that the Percy Jackson movies have been very disappointing.  My children talked about their disappointment with Sea of Monsters for days.

Go check out Marci's post, talk back to her, then I'd love you to share your answers here, too.

Happy at Home

Makin' Do Without Heat... Temporarily

A week and a half ago, before the chimney had been cleaned so we could have our first fire of the year, we awoke to snow and a very cold house.  The propane had run out! 
I just got up, put a kettle of water on to boil for doing breakfast dishes, set the kettle on to boil, and preheated the oven for biscuits.  The kitchen was warm. ~smile~  By evening, hubby and landlord had the propane and the woodstove ready to go.

The moral of the story, do what you can, with what you've got, where you are!

Happy at Home

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Emily as Mary

Emily Anne 

Just think, someday my Emily Anne will be a real momma.  She loves the Lord with all her heart.  I know she will be an excellent mother to her children.  For now, she's sixteen and thinking about all the choices a sixteen year old must as she nears the end of her homeschooling career.  I pray that she will hear the voice of the Holy Spirit clearly as He leads her.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

In Christ Alone, I Make My Boast.

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.


May I suggest? 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Power in the Name of Jesus

Every time you see a heart in nature, it's God saying, "I love you."

My first memory of struggles with food was when I was in first grade.  I was a bit chubby.  I remember lying in bed and blinking my eyes to burn calories!  Yikes.

I've struggled all of my life.  Well, at least until I gave up.

A few months ago, my dear friend, Charity, sang this song in church.  Break Every Chain by Tasha Cobbs.

That song ministered to me.  She sang it every few weeks, and the Holy Spirit began breaking the chains of food addiction off me.

The day after Labor Day, I began eating according to the Trim Healthy Mama plan.  The pounds are coming off. 

I began to believe the words when I sang the song with Charity.  The last Sunday in October, we sang it again.  By the end of service, I knew it was done.  The chains were broken.  I just have to walk it out now.

That day was the last time I saw my dear friend.  She went home to be with Jesus suddenly and unexpectedly November 1st. 

She left a legacy of love for people, cheerfulness and passion for Christ. 

I was privileged to get a recording of her singing Break Every Chain. 

The week she died, I played two songs on You Tube. One was Break Every Chain.  The other was Take the Shackles Off My Feet So I Can Dance.  Miss Charity is breaking loose and dancing for Jesus now.

Charity Bethke, may her name be blessed forever.

May you find the love, peace, hope, mercy and power of the Lord Jesus Christ for every chain in your life to be broken.

Daughter of the Chain Breaker

May I suggest?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Christmas Miracle on the Frontier by 'A Pastor's Wife'

Please enjoy this story that I share each year....
"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?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Baby Changes Everything ~ Faith Hill

This beautiful song takes its video from The Nativity Story.
Remember why we're doing this.
Remember who He is.
Remember who we are.
Happy Advent,
Blessed to be Saved by Jesus by Grace

Monday, December 9, 2013

You Can't Catch Me... I'm the Gingerbread Man!

 From my kitchen...

Gingerbread Men... er... cookies.  My gingerbread man was rusty!  Rather than go spend extra money at the store, the thrifty option was to do with the cutters we had.  I think the children had even more fun this way!  Don't let little things get in the way of a fun time with your children.  Mine have declared gingerbread cookie making to be a new tradition!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Enjoy Christmas Lights!

"Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it."
Charles Swindoll

No matter what's happening in your life, do your best to enjoy the people in your life and the blessings that God has given you.

The kids put up the lights by themselves this year.  They're very cheerful.


A Wise Woman

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Not to Worry! There's Still Time!

I want to thank you lovely ladies who have written words of love and encouragement to me.  I find that God's love is abounding to our family in this season.  Today we had a lovely light snow.  It was just enough to cheer me.

We have about two weeks to prepare for Christmas.  I've not made nor bought a gift, save a couple of stocking stuffers and gifts for our pastors.  So much for being prepared early. ~grin~

Not to worry though.  There's still time to bake gingerbread and sugar cookies, pumpkin bread and pies, fudge and peanut brittle... still time for Christmas movies and Christmas stories... still time for our Advent wreath and The Advent Book... still time to buy gifts for those I love and perhaps even time to make a few small things.

I will put on my favorite Christmas music, make some tea, and start making a list and checking it twice!  My dear husband has promised me lunch out today.  Perhaps he will help me to think through those things that we really want to enjoy in this season. 

May God bless you as you celebrate Christmas!

the Goodness of God in the Land of the Living

Friday, December 6, 2013

An Imperfect Christmas

Dear Friends,
I'm very reflective this year.  A month ago I lost a dear friend to Heaven.  Three weeks ago tonight, my Mother-in-Love joined her.  Mother was very much a part of our little family.

I just cannot seem to get it together this year.  Not a gift purchased yet except two little stocking stuffers bought in October and gifts for our pastors.

I'm embracing an imperfect Christmas and focusing on Him.  I'll make Christmas for the family.  It's just going to be a bit different this year.  And that is okay.

Blessings from The Cottage,

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Scary Christmas Memory ~ 2nd Grade

Once upon a time, I was a small child.  I know, I know, it's hard to believe, but true.  One Christmas, I wanted a Winnie the Pooh bear.  My little Dachshund, Greta, had chewed the face on my old Winnie the Pooh bear.  On Christmas Eve, Mommy told me that Santa Claus would peek in my room to be sure I was sleeping.  If I were asleep, I'd get my bear.  I lay in bed awake until past midnight.  I was frightened that Santa would catch me awake!  I remember listening to the clock down the hall strike midnight.  I knew I had to be asleep because, "He knows when you are sleeping.  He knows when you're awake.  He knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!" Well, eventually I fell asleep, Santa peeked on me, and I got my bear the next morning!

I was in 2nd grade.

Laura Lane

May I suggest?

Peaches and Salt

Monday, December 2, 2013

REVIEW: Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

I adored this book.   My children are always quoting movies they've read.  Samantha Moore is always quoting her favorite authors, Jane Austen most of all.  As a former foster child, she learned to hide in her books.  They became more alive than real living people to her.  In fact, when under stress or when uncomfortable, she often quoted the characters in her book rather than facing life and circumstances as Sam.

You can read about the book below.  Let me just say that I loved the interplay between characters, many of whom had their own ways of hiding.  The growth of character and trust between characters from beginning to end of book was believable and beautiful. 

Christian values and stability were strongly shown through the Muirs.  Other characters showed Christian principles in varying degrees.  Great characterization.

Really though, I enjoyed the interplay of quotes between Alex, Sam, and the Professor.  I also enjoyed reading a "Daddy Longlegs" style story that brought a happy ending with it.  It will surprise you!  I thought I had it all figured out.  Nope, Katherine Reay got me.  I look forward to reading Reay's next book.

Happy today!

Book Info

About the book: Samantha Moore has always hidden behind the words of others-namely her favorite characters in literature. Now, she will learn to write her own story-by giving that story to a complete stranger.
Growing up orphaned and alone, Sam found her best friends in the works of Austen, Dickens, and the Brontë sisters. The problem is that she now relates to others more comfortably as Elizabeth Bennet and Jane Eyre than as herself.

Sometimes we lose ourselves in the things we care about most.
But life for this twenty-three-year-old is about to get stranger than fiction, when an anonymous benefactor (calling himself "Mr. Knightley") offers to put Sam through the prestigious Medill School of Journalism. There is only one catch: Sam must write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress.

As Sam's program and peers force her to confront her past, she finds safety in her increasingly personal letters to Mr. Knightley. And when Sam meets eligible, best-selling novelist Alex Powell, those letters unfold a story of love and literature that feels as if it's pulled from her favorite books. But when secrets come to light, Sam is --- once again --- made painfully aware of how easily trust can be broken.

Reay's debut novel follows one young woman's journey as she sheds her protective persona and embraces the person she was meant to become.

Purchase a copy:

Meet the author: Katherine Reay has enjoyed a life-long affair with the works of Jane Austen and her contemporaries. After earning degrees in history and marketing from Northwestern University, she worked as a marketer for Proctor & Gamble and Sears before returning to school to earn her MTS. Her works have been published in "Focus on the Family" and the "Upper Room." Katherine currently lives with her husband and three children in Seattle. "Dear Mr. Knightley" is her first novel.

Learn more about Katherine at:
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher.  
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.”