Monday, December 29, 2014

Be Still My Soul- Review

"Be Still My Soul" by Randy Peterson is a beautiful treasury of 175 best loved hymns and the stories behind the hymns. Plus individual biographies of 12 hymn writers such as the Wesley brothers, Fanny Crosby and Isaac Watts.

I found this volume a real pleasure to read. As a lover of history and the beautiful hymns of our Christian heritage I can honestly say this is a book I would read over and over again throughout the years to come. The stories behind each and every song were such a blessing to read. I enjoyed how the author wove together the history behind how the hymns were inspired, and how they impacted believers in the years to follow. For example "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" written by Helen Lemmel was inspired by a quote Lemmel had read by Lilias Trotter. Though little is know about Katharina von Schlegel, the writer of the hymn "Be Still My Soul", this book explores how the hymn impacted the life of Eric Liddell, the famous missionary and athlete. There are so many touching stories within the pages of this book, it was very hard to put down.

I also found the quality of the book itself to be worth mentioning. The cover art and rough cut pages were a real treat! Plus each hymn is presented on the left hand page with the story behind the hymn on the corresponding right hand page.

Overall I would highly recommend this book. It is a real treasure. Well written and researched.

"Let me exhort you to "sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, as you praise the LORD with all your heart" (Ephesians 5:19). Keep hymns and spiritual songs by your bedside with your Bible and carry them with you to read. They will enrich your faith, invigorate your hope, and keep warm and tender your love." Samuel Logan Brengle

You can find more information about "Be Still My Soul" HERE.

*I received a complimentary copy of Be Still My Soul from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review*

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Great Unveiling

"His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

We look unto the Bethlehem manger, and see that that Child is our help, and that "the government shall be upon His shoulder" (Isaiah 9:6). Then, repenting and believing on Him, we find pardon, peace, and cleansing in His blood, and we cry out "Wonderful!"

Life is a labyrinth, the universe is a riddle. The wisest philosophers cannot solve the problems of evil, pain, and death. But we discover that in Him "are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3). He resolves our riddles. We rest in Him as our "Counselor".

We are oppressed with our utter littleness and weakness, and in our despair we look again, and we see Him stilling the storm, raising the dead, calming people's fierce, wild passions, and we cry out, 'the mighty God!"

Bereft and lonely, we cry like an orphaned child in the night. There is none to help, and no one understands. Then He draws nigh with fathomless consolations of love. And we nestle close and whisper, "The everlasting Father! The Prince of Peace!"

This is Jesus. We saw Him first as a helpless Child. But oh, how He has grown as we have looked! Yet He stooped to our lowly condition and humbled Himself, and suffered and died for us, and made atonement for our sins.

From "Take Time To Be Holy" by Samuel Logan Brengle


Hope you all had a blessed and joyous Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Grandpa's Molasses Cookies

Over the years this has proven to be our favorite molasses cookie recipe. The original, and rightful name of this recipe was "Kirsten's Ginger Cookies". As youngsters my sisters and I loved to prepare recipes from our "American Girl" cookbooks. My sister Hannah's doll was Kirsten, and Hannah would often bake her "Ginger Cookies".

In more recent years my mother took over the baking of this hearty, old-fashioned pioneer cookie. After the passing of my grandma in 2012 (she was a great baker and cook) the responsibility of  fulfilling my grandpa's cookie cravings fell to my mom, with some help from me. He is a self proclaimed cookie monster! And I take that claim quite seriously now that I have personally witnessed how many cookies he can eat in a week.

Well, when my mom began providing him with these molasses cookies grandpa was thrilled. After suffering an illness this summer and recovering, grandpa did not have much of an appetite for anything but mom's molasses cookies. He now claims that these cookies sustained his life! : ) Hence the reason we now call them "Grandpa's Molasses Cookies".

Grandpa's Molasses Cookies:

6 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 cups molasses
2/3 cup cold water

Directions: Sift flour baking soda, salt, allspice, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon. In another bowl mix coconut oil ( I generally melt the oil first, as it makes it easier to combine), sugar, molasses and water. Add sugar mixture to flour mixture. Chill dough for 1-2 hours. Cut out 1/2" rolled dough. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

My mom made some changes from the original recipe. Instead of using lard or shortening we use coconut oil, making for a healthier and moister cookie. We also like to add a little more water too... so rather than 2/3 cup you may like to try 3/4 cup. But it is up to the individual if they prefer a drier or moister cookie.

As a side note, grandpa found that even his cat Jasper enjoys these cookies.But of course, he is an unusual cat.

This year I am not baking my traditional variety of cookies, as I am hoping to keep to a healthier selection. These cookies lend themselves well to Christmas baking since they can be cut into fun shapes, and the spices are very festive in flavor.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Cozy December Days

 It is hard to believe it has been over a month since my last post, but each week just seems to fly by.I find myself so busily occupied each day with sewing, cooking, cleaning and cuddling my sweet baby that I have little time for anything else. But I thought I would share with you a little of what I have been up to.

This past weekend we decorated our home for Christmas. It was a cozy way to spend the weekend, sipping hot tea, listening to Christmas music, decorating the tree.

I have been quite busy sewing; Mom and I are always swamped with orders this time of year. It is a great feeling to mail out the last of our packages for the season, we are hoping that Monday we will have all of our order completed for shipping. 

Adam and I recently rearranged the furniture in our dining room. I wanted to have enough space for Jemimah's swing. She loves to watch me sew while listing to Christmas music! It is adorable. : ) Her favorite Christmas cd is The Three Tenors, I am not sure why, but she always calms down as soon as I turn it on.
 I have also been enjoying my time cooking in my kitchen. Yesterday I made a big batch of  chicken soup, one of my favorites. From my kitchen window I love to watch the snow fall, the sun set and the birds at the feeder. Some days I have a fantastic variety- woodpeckers, cardinals, juncos, tufted titmice,  chickadees and finches.

In the evenings I might knit. Recently I finished knitting this bonnet for Jemimah. The fit wasn't all that I had hoped for, but thankfully I have enough yarn to knit another with my revised pattern. The yarn I found is so soft, and the color suits Jemimah so nicely. Once I have finished my second bonnet I hope to share more about it.
While I knit Adam will often play the piano. He seems to know all of the Christmas carols, and he plays them beautifully! Jemimah just loves to hear her daddy play; it is precious to see her delight once he begins.
Yesterday I finished reading "The Christmas Cat" by Melody Carlson. I had read a review of this book on Stephanie's blog The Enchanting Rose. I love cats and Christmas books, so I just couldn't resist!I found it to be an enjoyable read.

I hope you are all enjoying a beautiful Christmas season thus far!

Have you read any special Christmas books this season? or do you have a favorite Christmas cd to recommend? How about a special knitting project in the works?

May you have a blessed, and cozy evening!