Thursday, December 31, 2020

Faith's Checkbook

 Over the years one of my favorite daily devotional books has been Faith's Checkbook by Charles Spurgeon. When I was growing up my mom would often read aloud from her own worn copy of Faith's Checkbook to my sisters and I. When I married mom gave me a copy of my own, and it has continued to encourage me with God's promises throughout the years.

Faith's Checkbook is a collection of 366 promises from God's Word, one for each day of the year, including leap years. In each reading Charles Spurgeon will expound upon the promise for that day in a brief devotion. I have been blessed time and again to be reminded of God's precious promises though this devotional. 


Below is the reading for December 28th:

Absolute Assurance 
"He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee"   (Hebrews 13:5).

Several times in the Scriptures the LORD hath said this. He has often repeated it to make our assurance doubly sure. Let us never harbor a doubt about it. In itself the promise is specially emphatic. In the Greek it has five negatives, each one definitely shutting out the possibility of the LORD's ever leaving one of His people so that he can justly feel forsaken of his God. This priceless Scripture does not promise us exemption from trouble, but it does secure us against desertion. We may be called to traverse strange ways, but we shall always have our LORD's company, assistance, and provision. We need not covet money, for we shall always have our God, and God is better than gold; His favor is better than fortune. 


We ought surely to be content with such things as we have, for he who has God has more than all the world besides. What can we have beyond the Infinite? What more can we desire than almighty Goodness. 


Come, my heart; if God says He will never leave thee nor forsake thee, be thou much in prayer for grace that thou mayest never leave thy LORD, nor even for a moment forsake His ways. 


As the new year approaches it is good to remember God's goodness and His promises through His Word. If you are considering a new daily devotional for 2021 I would highly recommend Faith's Checkbook

"As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him."

Psalm 18:30

Monday, December 21, 2020

Christmas Books by Grace Livingston Hill Part 2

Back in 2017 I shared some of my favorite Grace Livingston Hill Christmas stories. Since then I have discovered a few other Christmas books by Mrs. Hill  that I thoroughly enjoyed. I hope you will too!

The Prodigal Girl was quite the story! It follows the Thorton family during a rather tumultuous Christmas season. Mr. Thorton has spent his years climbing the corporate ladder and spending little time with his family. One day, just after reaching his highest professional achievement, he over hears a rather surprising conversation regarding his eldest daughter. He is stunned, and upon further investigation realizes that while he was pursuing his dream career his family had been terribly neglected. Mr. Thorton makes the decision to remove his family from the city and relocate to his childhood home in rural Vermont. 

As can be imagined his worldly wise offspring are less than thrilled with this arrangement. Mr. Thorton meets with a great deal of opposition from his family, especially from his oldest daughter. As the story unfolds we see the Lord's redemptive plan for the Thorton family and it is beautiful! I loved the description of the old homestead in Vermont, and I especially enjoyed reading of the old-fashioned preparations for Christmas. The Prodigal Girl was a book that I found hard to put down and one that I would highly recommend.

Astra is a sweet story. In the first pages a wintry storm, as seen from a train, is described so beautifully I felt as though I were there! I could imagine seeing the little towns covered in snow, Christmas lights gleaming. The main character, Astra, is a lonely young woman. She had lived with her cousins family since the passing of her parents. Her values don't always align with those of her worldly cousin, so when her cousin and family take a trip out of state Astra sees her means of escape. Life on her own is difficult, she isn't sure were to turn when all of the old friends she had counted on are out of town for Christmas. Astra finds a friend and help in a most unexpected way. A beautiful story of Christmas romance unfolds in a wholesome and engaging fashion. Astra is a book I will definitely read again. It was cozy, sweet and pointed to Jesus, which is my favorite kind of Christmas story.

Partners is the story of Dale, a young woman out of a job and alone in an unfriendly city. Trouble seems to meet her at every turn. Utterly despondent and without hope she calls upon God for guidance and help. She is amazed at the answer to her prayer, and the unusual responsibilities that come her way. 

On a stormy evening, a young man that resides at the boarding house where Dale lives discovers a baby left in the vestibule of the boarding house. The poor little baby is covered with snow, blue with cold and terribly sick. Unable to find help in the ladies running the boarding house he seeks help from Dale. From that point forwards they become "partners" in seeking to save the precious little life of the baby he had found. Partners is a lovely story. I was blessed with the story's ultimate theme of God's goodness and guidance in the lives of the characters.

Brentwood: Upon the passing of her adoptive mother, Marjorie discovers a letter describing her history. Much to Marjorie's surprise she discovers that her birth mother is still alive. With Christmas soon approaching Marjorie decides to seek out her birth mother, so she will not have to spend Christmas alone. Marjorie is met with  quite a surprise when she finally finds her mother. Not only does Marjorie have a mother, but she has a father, an identical twin sister and three younger siblings! Her parents are both terribly ill and the entire family is living in poverty. Thankfully, Marjorie's adoptive parents had left her with a small fortune, so when Marjorie discovers the situation her family is in, she is able to help them and bless them with a truly wonderful Christmas! 
Brentwood is a story of family, and how a loving family is of more value than any amount of money. It was fun to read the accounts of Marjorie's generosity, and how she was able to forge a true friendship with her stand-offish twin sister. I truly enjoyed this unique Christmas story.
As you well know Grace Livingston Hill is my favorite author, and I am so happy that she wrote such a wonderful variety of Christmas books! If you would like to read my previous Grace Livingston Hill Christmas book post here is a link


Monday, December 14, 2020

Christmas Cookies

Today I would like to share with you some new cookie recipes my daughter and I have recently enjoyed baking. This year I decided to try some new cookie recipes, as I tend to make the same cookies every Christmas season. All three new recipes were well received and have been added to my cookbook for future reference.

This summer one of our favorite read aloud books was Pippi Longstocking. In the story Pippi is forever baking and eating pepparkakor cookies. Jemimah was shocked by many of Pippi's antics, including when Pippi rolled out her cookie dough on the kitchen floor. After baking a batch of pepparkakor cookies we could easily see why Pippi would bake such large batches of these cookies, they don't last long. Pepparkakor cookies are delicious and have a wonderfully spicy flavor.

Pepparkakor Cookies
  • 1 cup butter, softened 
  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (I used all brown, but I think the recipe recommend white)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water 
 Directions: Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Cream butter and sugar in a separate bowl. Add egg, maple syrup, and water to butter and sugar mixture. Beat until fluffy. Gradually add dry ingredients. Mix until well combined. Cover bowl and chill dough for at least an hour to make the dough easier to handle and roll out. Once chilled, roll dough until about 1/8" thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out dough into shapes. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned on the bottom.


Jemimah discovered this recipe in her Club House Jr. Magazine. They were a lot of fun to make and the finished cookies were scrumptious! The design and flavor are perfect for Christmas. I know that from now on candy cane cookies will be part of my Christmas cookie rotation each year.

Candy Cane Cookies
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • red food coloring

Directions: Cream butter and sugar. Add egg, peppermint, vanilla, salt and baking powder. Gradually add flour, mix well. Set aside half of the dough. Add red food coloring to one half of dough. Chill dough for at least one hour, so that dough is easier to work with. Once chilled pinch off a piece of dough, about 2 tablespoons, from each color. Roll each dough into a rope that measure about 5" long. Twist both ropes together and  then curve top to create a cane shaped cookie. Bake in a 375 degree oven 9-12 minutes.


During the Christmas season I often think of my grandma and all of her wonderful baking. Each Christmas she would give our family a shirt box filled with an assortment of homemade cookies. My sisters and I were always excited to see what grandma had baked that year. One of my favorite cookies were grandma's mincemeat cookies. They tasted so old-fashioned and festive. Unfortunately grandma never shared the recipe and after her passing we were unable to find the recipe in her cookbooks. However, awhile back I read a recipe for mincemeat cookies shared by Jennifer that sounded similar. I finally tried baking her recipe and it tasted just like the cookies I remembered grandma baking! They are truly a special treat. I encourage you to visit Jennifer's blog and try baking her recipe for mincemeat cookies.

I hope you will enjoy trying the cookie recipes I shared today. Have you tried any new cookie recipes this season? If yes, do you have a new favorite to recommend?

P.S. A few years back I shared some favorite Christmas cookie recipes. If you are interested in seeing the post here is a link.
"O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens." Psalm 8:1