Saving Christmas Review and Giveaway

 We were able to watch the movie, Saving Christmas starring, Kirk Cameron.  From watching the trailer I sort of knew what to expect.  Here you can watch the trailer below.

He brought out some very interesting points that some might not connect the Christmas story with modern Christmas traditions.  Parts of it are very entertaining and I did love the fact that the woman who plays Kirk’s sister in the movie is his sister in real life.  I think on some of the connections he tried to make, he was stretching a little bit far.  It would be a great movie to give your family some things to discuss about your Christmas traditions and who or what do they point to.

I will be offering the set you see below, which includes the following: A SIGNED Saving Christmas movie poster (by Kirk Cameron), the soundtrack to the film, and a car air freshener that smells like Christmas trees!

 

And the winner is:  LYNN  l…………4@gmail.com!!  Congratulations and thank you to everyone for entering!!  Lynn, please send me your address.  :)

Want to win this set?

To be entered into the drawing simply leave a comment on one Christmas tradition your family does each year. 

The contest will end on Tuesday, November 18th at midnight. 

Official Website: www.savingchristmas.com

 

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

More Or Less

Where are you on the Christmas Scale

It is that time of year again.  Our thoughts shift ahead to the upcoming holidays.  Time with family and friends around the Thanksgiving table and gathered together at Christmas.  Lots of food and treats, both family favorites and traditions and new ones to try out this year.  For many this becomes one of the busiest times of the year.  There are still regular family special days like birthdays and anniversaries.  Then there is the work Christmas party, the church play or cantata or maybe even the church Christmas party.  There is the light show at the zoo and the neighborhood, that always goes all out with the decorations, that we love to drive through.  There’s the shopping, wrapping and hiding of gifts.  So many cookies to bake and decorate.  There are the decorations that have to go up at home.  When does your tree go up?  Thanksgiving week?  Before?  Closer to Christmas Day?

For many this is a very hard time of year.  Maybe it is their first holiday season without a loved one.  Or maybe they lost a loved one around this time.  Many are stressed out feeling overwhelmed by all they are supposed to accomplish with so little time or so little money.  Some are still paying off last Christmas and here it is time to start again.  

I think it is time for each of us to stop and examine our lives and activities and see what can be let go of, changed or what needs to be kept.  I want to say here that we are not saying what we do is “the right way”!!  We know that we each have to find what is best for our family.  So, please don’t think I am judging you or saying you have to do it like we do. 

Many years ago we dropped out of all the gift exchanges around us, even extended family ones.  Gifts and gift buying can be a big part of the stress of the season.  The time and effort to find something they will like or need, plus all the money that has to be spent to get them.  I know people all over the spectrum with gift giving.  I know people who don’t do any gifts and all the ones in between.  Many times the gifts are also what makes our focus about this season all wrong.  Why do children really get excited at Christmas?  Do you think it is because we celebrate the birth of Christ?  Tell them they aren’t getting any presents because it is not their birthday that is being celebrated and you might find out different.  I saw something on the Skit Guys.  It was a video about how one of the guys wanted to change the focus of his family during this season.  He shares what he did in this video.  His idea works for his family.  I know a family that the children get some needed items like underwear and socks, and maybe 2 toys or items they want.  Then they do a larger family gift like a trip to a local fun place or a day of snow boarding.  They have 10 children and this works for them.  One family limits their children’s gifts by a dollar amount they will spend on each child.  The last I heard it was $100.  Some families have no control and it looks like they bought out the department store.  We are at a different place than many families, in that we have no children at home and we do not have grandchildren yet.  We do either one gift each for our son and his wife, or one big home type item.  I also pick them out an ornament each year and they each get a Pez.  :)  I always got my son a Pez when he lived at home, so I have continued it with his wife. 

We began to look around one year and realize that not only did we not know what to buy for others (family and friends), but that most of them did not NEED anything.  I would still like to go one Thanksgiving or one Christmas and serve at a soup kitchen.  I would like to buy food for a family that is struggling and do it in the name of someone who does not have a need.  I am not sure how that would be taken though.  I want people to know that I love them and care about them not because I can buy lots of gifts and stuff, but because they see it in the way I interact with them, or how I help them, or in little unexpected blessings I can give.  We live in a society of overindulgence.  I want to step out of that part of giving.  I don’t want someone giving me something just because they felt they had to.  I don’t NEED anything.  I am blessed on so many levels.  This topic always reminds me of a story I heard a long time ago.  A mother and her 6 children went to the mall.  While they were there, she bought them each a small vanilla ice cream cone.  They were thrilled and it was obvious they were enjoying them.  A man came over to the mother and asked her what her secret was.  He said his children would not be satisfied with a small vanilla cone anymore.  They had to have sundaes or banana splits.  I loved her answer.  She told him that when her children were not longer happy with a small vanilla ice cream cone, they would get fewer small vanilla ice cream cones.  Are we caught on the cycle of doing more and doing bigger?

We have lost the wonderful art of gratitude as a society.  There are still some who practice it, but it is becoming more rare.  I heard something on the radio about developing gratitude in our children, but it is really good for all of us.  Gratitude is a choice.  We can complain and whine or we can give thanks.  The speaker said that being thankful is a matter of the will, it is a matter of obedience.  It is a muscle that needs to be exercised in our hearts.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

  Here are some ideas on helping cut down on stress, spending and to make it more meaningful.  Make your gifts.  I started talking earlier this year about doing just that and I fell down on the job.  You can check out this post for lots of ideas. 

share

I like to give gifts that people will use and I especially love gifts that are consumable.  My Dad and his wife and my in-laws do not need anything.  We like to give them food gifts like homemade bread, farm fresh eggs, meat from our freezer, home canned jams and anything else we have. I also make them each a gift that they both LOVE.  I make them a calendar that has family pictures on each page.  You can use Snapfish or Shutterfly or my favorite is Picaboo.  Sometimes each page has one big picture, but more often it is full of family photos from through out the year.  I make sure I have at least one of everyone.  I get our siblings to send us pictures or I snag them off of Facebook.  I also put all the birthdays and anniversaries on it.  I know my Mother-in-law keeps them all as a sort of family history.  Do you knit or crochet?  You can make dishcloths, scarves, hats & mittens.  What about coupons?  Our Wonderful Neighbors used to give us each a gift of a book of coupons.  Each coupon would be for something like garden help, stacking wood, an hour of housecleaning, kisses and hugs from the youngest.  Sometimes they bought a gift card for coffee and that was attached to a page.  It was very creative and I think those are my favorite gifts I ever got from them.  Is there a young mother in your family?  Offer to do laundry so many times, or to watch the children so she can grocery shop alone.  Stop and think of each person on your list and think what would most help them out or what is most near and dear to them.  Start making a list. 

Find a way to serve as a family.  Pick out a needy family and let the children earn money to buy things for those children and to come up with food items that will help.  Serve in a food kitchen as a family.  Go visit in the nursing home.  Maybe you could take some small treat or homemade item.  They are so grateful that you came to visit and even the tiniest gift is so appreciated. 

Try setting a limit that is smaller than in the past, on what you will buy your children.  Get them involved in ways you can cut back or reach out to others.  They need to be part of the process. 

What do you do to overcome the stress and the over indulgence in this season? Please share it in the comments below so we can all glean from each other.  Like I said in the post about the Amish, bloggers love comments.  It lets us know that we are reaching people and we want to learn from you as well.   

Delicious and Healthy For You

This was SO good!

I love stretching one chicken over several meals.  With only 2 of us here at home, it is pretty easy.  On Sunday, we cooked a chicken in the crock pot like this.  We used some of the meat for a late supper.  Since it was on the late side, we just had a chicken sandwich.  Then on Monday we had chicken and a side of vegetables.  I put water in the crock pot to make some bone broth.  I love that I can put my crock pot on low and it will go for a long time.  It is good to add raw apple cider vinegar (ACV) to your broth to help pull all the goodness out of the bones.  I added my super tonic to the broth, which has an ACV base.  Today, I pulled the rest of the chicken out and picked the meat off the bones.  I put the chicken back into the broth and added another dollop of super tonic.  I love that stuff.  :)  I also added some left over mixed vegetables that were in the fridge.  I was going to add rice, but changed my mind at the last minute and put a cup of quinoa in.  I let it cook in the broth.  It still had big pieces of onion and garlic from when we cooked the chicken the first time.  This soup was so good, that I had 2 bowls.  :)  Plus I have left overs for lunches this week. 

What are some ways that you use to stretch a chicken.  I would love to hear about them in the comments below. 

An Unpleasant Service We Provide

We live among the Amish and provide a service to them.

We live among the Amish.  If you are basing your knowledge of the Amish on the movies you watch or the books you read, you might be surprised by reality.  :)  I love to see the beauty of their farms though.  The shocks of corn in the fields at this time of year always makes me stop to take pictures. 

We provide a service to the Amish and have done it for almost 13 years.  We take them death notifications.  If someone in their family, who lives far away, dies, they call us or have a neighbor call us and we take the information to the local family.  They don’t like to see us pull into their driveway, but if we are on another type of errand, we are quick to let them know why we are there to put their minds at ease.  Often the person has been very sick and they are expecting the news.  Other times, it is an accident or something else very sudden and they are surprised.  I have had to take several notices of small children passing away. 

We are given the name of the person we are to deliver the message to.  They give us the name and age of the person who has died.  They always make sure they give us the name and age.  In many Amish communities there are many people with the same name.  I was talking to a local midwife one day and she said she had an appointment set up for someone.  Because it was a common name, she asked for the husband’s first name.  She had more than one couple with both names, so she asked what road they lived on.  She actually had 2 couples with those same names on that road and had to ask the children’s names to get the right one.  They also give us the area or address where the deceased lived.  Then we are given the day of the funeral.  Occasionally, one of them will give us some details to pass on to the family about the death itself. 

As we have shared this over the years, many people ask me what their reactions are when we take the notice to them.  They are very curious and most of the adults and older children will gather around and read over the shoulder of the one holding the note.  I always wait to make sure that they understand all the writing and that I am in the right place.  They usually tell me how they are related to the person and will also often ask me to take the notice to other family in the area who are also related.  As far as their reaction, there really is not one.  They rarely act sad.  They might save that for when an outsider is not among them.  In all the years we have been doing this, only once, did a woman come close to crying.  Her eyes teared up and she had a trembly voice as she shared with me that it was her mother who had died.  

They are always grateful to us for bringing the notice and often offer to pay us for our time and gas (which we decline).  

I delivered a death notice this morning to the farm you see in the picture above.  The sun was still low in the sky and the light was so golden.  I had to stop and take pictures. I will share a few more with you below.  If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear them.  Comments mean a lot to a blogger… hint hint! ;)

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Would You Share And Help Christopher?

Can you help this family?

I shared with you about this little guy in my last post.   We are holding a fundraising party to help the family out on the financial end.  Would you please share this post wherever you can and would you please consider helping out?  This is a great time of year to get some Christmas gifts or stocking stuffers.  All of my profits are being donated to this family.  The hostess gifts for this party will go to Christopher’s mother, Missy.  

If you are brand new to Lilla Rose and you buy 3 items, I can offer you an additional item for free (up to $16 value).  I will be happy to answer any questions you have and to help you choose the right size.  Here is a way to help you choose the right size and also a video to help you.  

SizingChart2

You can read more about Christopher on Facebook at this link:

Christopher’s Cancer Journey

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this.  Please share it with as many as you can.  Let’s bless this family together!

Hairsticks   ShortHair1 ShareCollage Share5 Share4 LongHair2 LongHair HeadbandCollage

Oh Be Careful Little Mouth What You Say

Think before you speak

I have not been blogging as much lately as I have in the past.  There are many reasons for that, but one of them is that I don’t want to blog just to have a post to put up.  I want to share my life and what I see and what is going on here at the farm.  But every once in awhile, something will burn within my heart that I feel I have to say.  Today’s post is one of those. 

This subject can be used in many areas of life, but I am going to share what sparked it for me as an example.  This is Christopher and his mom, Missy. 

Pray for Christopher

I knew Missy’s family when I lived in Florida.  She was a bridesmaid in my son’s wedding. The whole family is precious and they are helpers.  In June of this year, right after Christopher turned 3, he was diagnosed with cancer.  It is a very rare cancer.  In fact it is so rare that they have not given an exact diagnosis.  Samples of Christopher’s tumor have been sent to pathologists all over the country. One is considered by many to be one of the top 2 in the country. One doctor estimated that less than 5 children are like Christopher in the US right now.  Their whole world turned upside down with this diagnosis.  There is so much that goes into dealing with a family member with cancer.  I am sure none of us (unless you have gone through it) can feel the pain of watching your child suffer and having the unknown loom before you.  Having to look at that child again and tell him that there is another needle stick coming or a procedure that is scary and might hurt.  Then there is the financial needs.  Missed work, gas for travel to and from the hospital which is often over an hour away.  Having to stay overnight somewhere or stay for the week or even weeks.  Food that is needed for the family members who are there.  Having to deny yourself and your sick child fun opportunities that could be a compromise to their immunity.  There is so much more I have probably not even touched on. 

Christopher’s mother, Missy, had to make a post on Facebook that broke my heart for her.  That is what I want to share about.  Many people want to help.  They want to encourage.  They often don’t know what to say.  They will hear of some new treatment or something that they want to share with the family.  All of those are good things and the family appreciates them.  Some even say the wrong thing, but their heart comes through that they want to help.  However, there are some that are negative and say hurtful things that are totally uncalled for.  Their use of funds are being questioned.  They are looking at several options for an upcoming long extended stay for a round of radiation.  People are accusing them of wasting funds because they are looking at other options along with the Ronald McDonald House.  In her very sweet and loving explanation she shared some very valid reasons why the RMH might not be a good option for them this time.  She should not have to explain that to anyone.  People are refusing to help because they don’t have an exact diagnosis.  WOW!!!!  I can’t fathom that type of heart and I feel sorry for those people and I pray that they are never put in that situation.  If you don’t want to help, that is fine, but keep it to yourself.  Don’t reach out and hurt a family that is already struggling.  Where is your compassion? 

THINK BEFORE you speak.  It is one thing to ask if they have heard or thought about an option, but another one for you to tell them what they need to do.  None of us know all the circumstances. 

Read all the updates and pray for this family.  Many times people skim over an update or read the first line and then pass judgement.  I see this all the time on my Facebook page.  I recently posted a picture of a coffee cup from someplace in Canada.  A discussion came up about the McDonald’s coffee incident.  People made a judgment on what they heard in the news or from friends.  I shared this link with them that showed the facts of the case.  Many still lashed out at her and accused her of stupidity or lying.  Again… WOW!!!  They accused her of grabbing after money.  She originally wanted only $20,000 to cover her costs.  McDonalds refused.  They said she was stupid for putting the coffee between her knees to take the lid off.  Maybe a lapse in judgement, a mistake, but stupidity???  The coffee was so hot that she suffered full thickness burns (or third-degree burns) over 6 percent of her body, including her inner thighs, perineum, buttocks, and genital and groin areas. She was hospitalized for eight days, during which time she underwent skin grafting. She also underwent debridement treatments.  What if that was your mom?  She has been vilified through out the world for something that was an accident on her part.  Her settlement was reduced by 20% for her fault in the incident.  Her whole life had to change.  Where is the compassion?  People chose not to read the facts.  They saw what I wrote about and spouted off “their set of information” and condemned the woman.  

In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.  But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.   James 3:5

I am reminded of that children’s song …. Oh be careful little mouth what you say.  Oh be careful little mouth what you say.  For the Father up above is looking down in love.  So be careful little mouth what you say.  The Bible tells us that one day we will give account for our words…. ALL of them.

If you would like to help this family out financially, there is a page set up for that.  You can find it here.  I may be setting up a Lilla Rose fundraiser for them as well.  I am waiting to hear back from the family.  All of my profits will go straight to this family if the party is set up.  The hostess gifts will go to Christopher’s mother, Missy.  

Pray for this family as well. 

    

Don’t Judge A Soup By Its Looks

Don't judge this soup by how it looks... taste it!

I have heard people say some nasty things about this soup, yet they had never tasted it.  Do you have to have pretty food before you will taste it?  Are you willing to try something before you pass judgement on it?  This is one of those foods that gets a bad wrap because it is not pretty!

I was talking to my Dad and his wife one day and they told them that someone had brought them some soup.  A type of soup that they really liked.  Then when they went to warm it up and fix it for lunch, it did not look like they expected.  They expected a bowl of soup that looked like the one in the picture above.  They said that what they got was a clear broth with some veggies in it.  A few days later, my co-op order came in and I had gotten some green split peas.  I had really intended to make some bean soup, because I had a ham bone left, but those bright green peas caught my eye.  I decided to make Split Pea Soup.  I used to make this vegetarian style, even though I am not a vegetarian.  I must say that the ham really added to the flavor of the soup.  It is good both ways, so feel free to make it without the ham. 

I want to add one more little tidbit before I get into the recipe.  We ate the soup and loved it.  After we were done eating, I remembered that I had not taken a picture of it.  I decided to wait until the next day when I had left overs for lunch.  However, the next day, I would be going right by my Dad’s house on one of my errands.  I decided to pack up the left overs and deliver them to him.  I stopped and visited a few minutes and gave them the soup and then went on to do my errands.  When I got home, I remembered the picture part.  :)  I called my Dad and asked him to send me a picture of one of their bowls of soup whenever they fixed it.  He did that and even made sure it had some added touches in the picture. 

Split Pea Soup (with ham)

Put the oil in a skillet and turn on the heat.  I throw the onion, garlic and carrots into my Vitamix or you could use a food processor.  Put this mixture into the pan and saute them  until the onion and garlic are tender. 

Get out your crockpot and turn to high.  Add the water, peas, ham and the above mixture.  Add some salt and pepper and stir.  Then add the bay leaf. I do it that way, so it is easy to find and fish out when it is time.  :)  I let mine stay on high for a couple of hours and then I turned it to low and kept it there until supper time.  Before serving, fish out the bay leaf and your ham bone.  I then take about half of the soup and put it into my Vitamix and puree it.  I pour this back into the crockpot.  Cut any ham off the bone and make into bite size pieces and add back into the crockpot.  

Serve hot.  This soup goes well with cornbread.