Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Dear Christmas Mothers -- Inspiring Letters to Homemakers -- Book Review and a Giveaway!

Good Morning Ladies! Hope you're all having a happy week so far. I spent yesterday decorating for Christmas, reading, and just relaxing after a week of celebrating Thanksgiving with my family and my father. He started back to Oregon yesterday morning---please pray with me for his safe return home.

Last week I enjoyed reading through this new publication from The Legacy of Home Press, Dear Christmas Mothers by Mrs. Connie Hultquist. My dear friend, homemaking mentor, and fellow blogger, Mrs. Sharon White, let me know about the book and sent me a copy for review. 

In Dear Christmas Mothers, Mrs. Hultquist shares holiday letters she wrote in the early 2000s, encouraging homemakers to make a happy Thanksgiving and Christmas for their families. She gives  ideas to make one's home cozy on a very limited budget and offers a couple recipes for favorite treats.

The book is "written as spoken" and that's part of the charm. The very informal style of the letters allows the reader to imagine she's chatting at a cozy coffee table with a friend.

A favorite theme of the book is the call to Christian homemakers to create a sense of community and mentorship. The importance of mentorship has been revealed to me in so many ways this last year that I can't help believing God is leading me into a season of more opportunities to bless the lives of the women around me. I'm excited about that! Here is a favorite quote regarding our Titus 2 calling:

"We ain't supernatural. We can't make things happen. But we can stand with our arms raised up like Moses so that God can defeat the army against us. Just stand, dear saints, with arms lifted to Jesus, for in Him comes your help...and when your arms feel tired, let the saints come along and help you hold up your arms of faith." (Dear Christmas Mothers, pg. 67)

I hope you'll check out Dear Christmas Mothers on Amazon.com, as well as the other publications from The Legacy of Home Press. I've been blessed by each of the homemaking resources Mrs. White has offered the past few years. I know you will be, too!

The author is giving away one free copy of Dear Christmas Mothers to one of my readers. To win, simply leave a comment telling me something about your Christmas homemaking plans for this season. Giveaway ends Saturday December 8.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Golden Moments by Gail Golden --- An Encouraging Gift Idea -- Book Review

Hey ladies! Hope you're all having a fantastic week so far! We had a lovely visit with my Dad over Thanksgiving week. He drove all the way out from Oregon to visit for the week---what a blessing! 

I know it's been slow going around here as far as posts go. Years ago, I made a commitment to be a "no obligation blogger" and promised myself never to apologize to my readers for taking breaks from blogging. Still, I know things have been a bit inconsistent the last year or so but I'm hoping to get back in the game here because I miss the fellowship with you all!

One of my favorite things to blog about is books and I'm thrilled to share the dream come true book of one of my sweet readers, Gail Golden. 

Gail read and reviewed my own book, Now, a couple years ago and said it encouraged her to follow her own dreams of publishing. In August, she sent me a copy of her beautiful work, Golden Moments, and I've spent the last couple days reading through each inspiring chapter.

Golden Moments is a collection of encouraging short stories Gail calls, "aha moments"---times that God makes himself known to us as we're going about our every day lives. Does the Lord speak to you in little ways throughout your day? It's such a comfort to me to know He's right with me in every moment and I'm thankful for the way He pushes through the loudness and busyness of my days to speak to me.

You will be inspired and encouraged as you read through these testimonies of God's goodness. Each one is written in a way that is relatable. What a blessing to see Gail's dream come to fruition. I encourage you to pick up a copy for yourself, as well as a few stocking stuffers for loved ones. You can find your copy at Amazon.com. Also, do visit Gail's blog, Gail-Friends, for more encouragement.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Autumn Spiced Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Welcome to The Homemaking Party! Today I'd like to share an old recipe for Pumpkin Bread that we use and love every year!  This is a great recipe for those larger cans of pumpkin as it makes 3 loaves.  It's a perfect big family recipe---but it freezes well for a small family too!

The weather here in NW Arkansas has definitely turned and we are enjoying the coming days of winter. This is my favorite time of year! So cozy and comfortable!

Autumn Pumpkin Bread
1 29oz. can pumpkin puree
1 1/2 c. oil
3 c. sugar
6 eggs
4 3/4 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. cloves

Preheat oven to 350 and grease 3 loaf pans.  Mix the pumpkin, oil, sugar, and eggs.  Combine the dry ingredients and then stir into the wet mixture.  Pour into pans and bake 45 min. or until done all the way through.

Thanks for stopping by The Homemaking Party! Have a beautiful week!

(Note: These photos are marked "Hope In Every Season". Rest assured---these are my photos...that's just the name of my old site!)

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Sunday, November 4, 2018

Keeping a Soft Heart After Child Loss

Yesterday I gave the news that we'd miscarried our baby. Today I want to talk a little more about that. My history in a nutshell: I became pregnant with my first child at 19 and my last child at 33. Before this recent baby, I birthed nine children in 13 years. To say the least, infertility was not a word I associated with.

After my 2012 baby, we figured it would be business as usual. We packed up the clothes and baby paraphernalia and waited. Waited. Still waited.

After a year, I began to panic. Wait a minute! I'm the girl who has a baby every. single. year. Where's the baby?

After two years, depression began to creep in. What is my purpose now???

After three years, anger and resentment. I can't handle baby showers. Baby dedications. Baby anything. It's not fair.

After four years, I stuck a toe out in the water. Perhaps God's actually in control of this?

And for the last year, I'd been working on being settled with this new me. I'd given away most of the baby stuff---I even held an eight month old, awkwardly, as a friend needed to make a phone call. I'd begun to think about my health more, the trim and strong figure that was lost long ago, the other directions God was taking me.

Then, out of nowhere, I was pregnant again.

Joy! Rapture! Total elation! That's what I showed on the outside. On the inside, I knew. My over 40 friends knew. I probably wasn't going to get to keep this baby. For me, it had little to do with statistics (I turned 39 last week). I just knew. The Lord gave. The Lord took away. Blessed be his name in all circumstances.

The decision to announce my high risk pregnancy so early was not made lightly. There are several risks for someone my age and weight. I wasn't blind to them. No, the decision to announce, knowing that I'd likely be logging back on to announce our disappointment later, was made with eyes wide open.

For two weeks, we celebrated God's miracle of life. For two weeks, our family made plans and dreamed about life with a new baby.

For two weeks, Brenna was a big sister and my teens imagined their new sibling playing toys with its future nieces and nephews.

For two weeks we had hope. Today we still have hope.

Jamie and I chose to announce this young life so early because it was a life. Its life has value and purpose and we are honored to have celebrated.

And we are honored to mourn.

Never be afraid to pick a flower, even though you know it will wither. My mom has said this to me my whole life. The older I get, the more I truly get this.

When we lose someone precious, when a dream and a prayer dies, our first reaction is often to pull away from everything good around us. To isolate---so we don't have to deal with the pain in public. That's what I did the first time I lost a child. It took me ten years to come out of that isolation. That's a long time, sister.

I'm fighting that urge to isolate with every inch of my being. Just like last time, I have a husband and kids who not only need me, but want me to be there for them...and they, in turn, want to help me heal. I have friends who want to be there for us during this time. I have work to do, ministry to give, encouragement to spread, hope to shine out. As much as I want to scream at the top of my lungs, break things, break people, break me---more of me wants to give, serve, love, be vulnerable, and let God use this.

This doesn't make the pain lessen so much as it redirects my motivation. God will use all things for his good purposes if we'll release them to him. I have to walk through the pain either way---might as well be a witness on the way.

When life stuff hits, I don't think the answer is to turn away, crouch low, and wait for it to blow over. That didn't work so well for me in the past. This time, I think I'll try grabbing God's hand, and turning to face it---head up, eyes wide, arms wide, heart open.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Our Heartbreak---and Something Fun, Too!

Good Morning, Friends! Hope everyone is enjoying some crisp, cool Fall weather!
We have some sad news---our baby has passed away. We are all pretty heartbroken here. Please pray for us---especially our other kids who were so excited at the thought of a new sibling after so long.

About a year and a half ago, I started The Victorian Letter Writers Guild. Since then, almost 200 women from all over the world have signed up for a custom-chosen pen friend. I've just opened the newest round of the pen friend exchange and would love to have you join! Just visit the blog for more information. 

Thanks for stopping by The Homemaking Party!

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