Thursday, December 31, 2015

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
I'll be back to blogging next week.
Enjoy!
Laura

Saturday, December 26, 2015

A Little Taking it Easy Then....

Does Happy Holidays bother you? Click here.
To me, that means Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Christmas,
and Happy New Year all rolled into one.
 If you celebrate any other holidays, I wish you happy for those, too!
It was a wonderful Christmas.
I'm going to try to take it easy the next couple of days.
When you're a wife and mother, that's not easy.
~smile~
Then the re-cleaning, 
homeschool records and planning, 
and thrifty and frugal efforts must take center stage! 
The New Year is coming!

God bless you all.
Thank you all for encouraging me relentlessly. 
~smile~
Laura

P.S. If you'd like a wonderful nudge to embrace homemaking more fully, check out Jennie's Journey for a wonderful continuation of When Queens Ride By by Suzanne Chanis from Blueberry Cottage. She wrote a new installment for Christmas. 


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve... Don't Forget!

Breathe!
Light a candle!
Whisper a prayer!
Hug someone!
Smile!
Make a list!
Check it twice!
Be nice!

Happy Christmas Eve to you all!


~~~~~

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Greeting

We're down to the wire. I'm still wrapping gifts, cleaning, and planning. This morning I'll buy groceries and finish my other shopping. Being at the restaurant so much until last weekend put me behind. I'm glad that Christmas is on a Friday this year. I hope you are getting it all done and not getting grinchy or feeling fretful. Jesus loves you so very much. This is all to bring happiness not stress. Take time to sit quietly, open the Word of God, and spend some time with the Lover of Your Soul, Jesus.
Merry Christmas,
Laura

~~~~~
~~~~~


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Hard Times Don't Take a Christmas Vacation

Hard times don't take a Christmas vacation. Illnesses, job loss, a budget stretched so far that buying a gift or a special meal makes it snap are all cold realities for many families.

A lady in our church was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. I know at least two people battling dark depression. A sweet friend went in for a routine surgery and ended up in ICU. She's home, but her recovery is slow. Another friend's husband is fighting for his life with blood clots in his lungs.

Yet another dear friend's husband just lost his high level position, because the company went bankrupt. My husband and I will close our restaurant this weekend— leaving our family without income.

I know several people who really stretch their money to make ends meet. There's only so much elastic in a dollar bill you know. I've been testing that stretch capacity full-time for nearly ten years now.

Maybe you're like one of us. Perhaps you have another problem. Most likely you know someone who's struggling. Our families will be affected differently by these situations, but it will be a challenging season for all of us.

Sometimes, in our desperation, we give up to despair.
Sometimes, in our desperation, we give in to God and
he takes over. He comes in and saves us... maybe not
from the circumstances...but always from the despair.

Give in and find hope, peace, love, healing, and provision.
God's arm is not too short. Nothing is impossible with God.

Please enjoy this story that I share each year....
Amy Lane Photography 
A Christmas Miracle on the Frontier

     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 14, 2015

My Daybook ~ December 14, 2015

Read other daybooks.
 My Daybook
December 7, 2015

Outside my window... It's a gray morning.

I am thinking... about how to get everything done I need to do this week.

I am thankful that... even if all doesn't go as planned, we will still have a happy Christmas.

From the kitchen... I'll start my holiday baking. We currently have two outside events that require sweet treats. We also have our tree trimming party tonight, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to prepare for. I'll have my kids help. I also want to make Candy Cane Cocoa. 

I am wearing... my old red dress. I'll change before I go out.  It's cold by the window.

I am creating... nothing really. That's really strange for me. I usually make lots of things for Christmas. See the kitchen list above.


I am going... just regular taxi service for the family. I'm going to have to start taking my oldest son to work because his current ride is having car problems. I really should put out a tip jar. ~smile~ My second son just got his driver's license, so he may want to help with some of the driving.

I am reading... I am reading The Good Wife's Guide, Embracing Your Role as Helpmeet  by Darlene Schacht.

I am hoping... to find peace and joy this Christmas season. It must come from the Holy Spirit.

I am learning... to let go of my expectations.

I am planning... I need to be planning Christmas meals.

am hearing... the traffic on the highway. Lots of folks on the way to work. We live off a major north south highway that connects to a major east west highway.

Around the house... 
  • I need to declutter more things to give away. 
  • Laundry beckons as it always does.
  • I need to wrap a few more gifts.
  • I need to decorate more.
  • I need to get ready for our family's tree trimming party tonight
  • I need to grocery shop and prepare food and bake.
One of my favorite things...  listening to Christmas music on Spotify or Pandora for free.

A Favorite Quote for Today... 
"That was a happy Christmas."  (Click for the whole quote.) 
~Laura Ingalls Wilder

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week... 
  • Working at the restaurant
  • Tree trimming party!
  • Planning out menus for Christmas week.
  • Church Christmas dinner on Wednesday
  • Cleaning
  • Laundry
  • Decorating
  • Planning
  • Driving
  • Shopping
  • Baking
  • I'm going to choose something from my Christmas Bucket List to do this week.
From the Board Room...
Follow Laura's board Paintings on Pinterest.
 Now go check out the other Day Book entries at our hostess Peggy's blog, The Simple Woman.

A Peek into the Past...  On the First Day of Christmas

What are you up to this week?

God bless!
Laura

Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Continual Christmas

2008
"Let no pleasure tempt thee, 
no profit allure thee, 
no persuasion move thee, 
to do anything which thou knowest to be evil; 
so shalt thou always live jollity; 
for a good conscience is a continual Christmas."

 - Benjamin Franklin




~~~~~
May I suggest?
Everything Christmas
~~~~~

Friday, December 11, 2015

A Christmas State of Mind


"Christmas is not a time nor a season, 
but a state of mind. 
To cherish peace and goodwill, 
to be plenteous in mercy, 
is to have the real spirit of Christmas."

~ President Calvin Coolidge ~


~~~~~
May I suggest?
~~~~~


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Does "Happy Holidays" Bother You?


Happy Christmas Season Everyone!

Don't let anyone spoil "Happy Holidays" for you. 

Just accept the good wishes in peace!

Then—

wish them a happy Christmas!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Little House Thoughts... Tender Hearts ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

"Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time."
 ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

Some things just take me back in my mind to the days of my youth...

Miracle on 34th Street, It's a Wonderful Life, and The Bishop's Wife all make me think of my grandparents. I grew up in the '70's, but something about those movies makes me think of them.

No one sings Christmas like Bing Crosby, but Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra also remind me of those growing up Christmases. Nothing connects me to my growing up years like music. I think it's because my mama loved music so much. We listened to the radio, played 8 track tapes, and sang with each other at home and in the car. Music connected us. Jesus, will you please tell my mama that I miss her and I love her? Thank you. 

Listening to Christmas music and Santa flight reports reminds me of a Scary Christmas Memory. I hope your Christmas time is merry and bright!

God bless us every one!
Laura

My Daybook ~ December 7, 2015

Read other daybooks.
 My Daybook
December 7, 2015

Outside my window... It's a very dark night. I'm up too late writing this.

I am thinking... about how to get everything done I need to do this week.

I am thankful that... even if all doesn't go as planned, we will still have a happy Christmas.

From the kitchen... I hope to make some potato soup with leftover smashed potatoes for dinner Monday night. Later this week, I might make some beef stew with leftover brisket. 

I am wearing... my black night gown. It's cold by the window.

I am creating... nothing really. That's really strange for me. I usually make lots of things for Christmas.


I am going... just regular taxi service for the family.

I am reading... I am reading The Gift of Christmas Present by Melody Carlson.
Click for more information about Carlson's Christmas novellas.

I am hoping... to find peace and joy this Christmas season. It must come from the Holy Spirit.

I am learning... to let go of my expectations.

I am planning... I need to be planning Christmas meals.

am hearing... nothing but the hum of the computer and refrigerator and the ticking of the clock. They're all saying, "Go to sleep Laura!"

Around the house... 
  • I need to declutter more things to give away. 
  • Laundry beckons as it always does.
  • I need to wrap a few gifts.
  • I need to decorate.
One of my favorite things...  listening to Christmas music on Spotify or Pandora for free.

A Favorite Quote for Today... 


"May we not 'spend' Christmas or 'observe' Christmas, but rather 'keep' it." 
~Peter Marshall
A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week... 
  • Working at the restaurant
  • Church on Wednesday
  • Cleaning
  • Laundry
  • Decorating
  • Planning
  • Driving
  • Repairing my daughter's costume.
  • My girls will be in the church play on Friday night and Sunday night.
  • I'm going to choose something from my Christmas Bucket List to do this week.
From the Board Room...
Follow Amy's board From My Blog /& Stuff by Me on Pinterest.
Now go check out the other Day Book entries at our hostess Peggy's blog, The Simple Woman.

A Peek into the Past...  My Daybook March 14, 2011

What are you up to this week?

God bless!
Laura
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
May I suggest?
Everything Christmas!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Christmas Expectations



Dear Readers,

I've had to let go of a lot of my expectations for what I want Christmas to look like this year. It will be a much better month for everyone if I don't fret over it and just accept it. ~smile~ I made my big old Christmas Bucket List, but I already know I won't do even half of it. It's okay. It was fun to make the list. 

Part of growing older is accepting the changes in the way we celebrate. Perhaps the kids aren't little anymore, or someone moves away, someone is is ill, or a job is lost, or you're living in a hotel over Christmas because the sellers won't move out of the house you bought! Yep, that happened to us with a baby, two toddlers, and a ten year old. Fun Christmas that was, watching the Food Network and Home and Garden channel and not being able to bake a single cookie or decorate a tree. 

It was also the year that I started new traditions that have become precious to my younger kids who are now teens. It was all in my attitude. Candles burn in hotel rooms, and Christmas music plays from the CD player there, too. Most wonderful of all, I bought The Advent Book by Jack and Kathy Stockman. It's become a part of every December night until Christmas.

So, maybe this is a year when you need to let go of some of your Christmas expectations. God is able to reshape the year in a beautiful way when your primary focus is on Him. Go ahead, give it a try. I think you'll be glad you did.

Happy Christmas Season,

Thursday, December 3, 2015

A Little Kringling... Candy Cane Cocoa


Candy Cane Cocoa 
is one of family's favorite winter drinks. 


I always make a big batch in December and hope that it will last.
~smile~


 It's just as good in January or February as at Christmastime. I've had the recipe for at least twenty years maybe longer. Thank you to whoever gave it to me! We've enjoyed it. ~smile~


It makes a great gift in a pretty little jar with a cute tag, too.



Candy Cane Cocoa
A Harvest Lane Cottage Classic Recipe

3 candy canes, crushed
1 c. powdered creamer
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup Hershey's cocoa powder

Mix and store in an airtight container.
Add 1/4 cup to 3/4 cup boiling water



A happy Christmas to you from Harvest Lane Cottage!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

My Christmas Bucket List 2015

  • Write my Christmas bucket list
  • Sing Christmas carols
  • Put up the tree
  • Decorate the house
  • Put lights on the house
  • Talk to strangers
  • Make candy cane cocoa
  • Smile and spread good cheer
  • Curl up with a terrific book
  • Drink hot apple cider
  • Tree decorating party with my husband and kids
  • Drink eggnog
  • Make chili
  • Try a new soup
  • Invite friends for soup and bread
  • Make new Christmas decorations
  • Go to Journey to Bethlehem
  • Shop CBD Online
  • Shop Amazon Online
  • Bake Gingerbread Cookies
  • Christmas baking
  • Watch my daughters in church play
  • Gaze into the fire of a candle
  • Attend a Christmas Concert
  • Make cocoa
  • Bake Christmas cookies with my kids 
  • Read Christmas books aloud
  • Wrap Christmas gifts
  • Listen to Christmas music
  • Watch Christmas movies
  • Sing Christmas carols as I shop
  • Read Christmas books
  • Burn cinnamony fragrant holiday candles
  • Read by candle light and tree light
  • Christmas shopping
  • Christmas gathering with my CHEC moms
  • Watch more Christmas movies
  • Pajama Run
  • Cookie Exchange Party
  • Drive around and look at Christmas lights
  • Worship Jesus
  • Christmas Eve service
  • Christmas Day at Home
This post was featured at New Nostalgia.
My Flagstaff Home
This post was featured at My Flagstaff Home.
Darling Downs Diaries
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