Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Enjoying a Less Than Perfect Thanksgiving Gathering

What do you think of when you think about Thanksgiving?

A Norman Rockwell setting?
A Waltons' Thanksgiving?
A disaster or battleground?

What if you don't feel so thankful about gathering with your relatives or a certain relative? Do you stress over pleasing them or feel irritated by them? Sadly that's the case for more people that we'd like to think. Unfortunately, not everyone has a loving family that serves our Lord. Most would say there is at least one in their family that makes holidays difficult. In fact, if you're a Christian, but you're not from a Christian family, you may be the one that makes the others uncomfortable. 

What if you're totally stressed out about getting a meal prepared and on the table not to mention all the preparations ahead of time? 

May I encourage you to use the preprayment plan? That's praying ahead of time for situations that are coming up. Search your Bible for a verse or two that you can focus your mind and heart on while you're visiting. Make it a verse that will help you keep the Shalom perfect peace of God in your heart. If you're at home, light a candle. Sometimes glancing at a candle flickering or enjoying the fragrance can help you feel more peaceful. Soft worship music playing in the background helps too— if you can get away with it. ~smile~

Keeping our focus on God and our reasons to be thankful can help us through as we pray to hold our tongues or give a hug or an encouraging word. 

Be blessed and don't fret dear ones!

Just something to think about...

Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage!

Keeping it simple for our Savior

Saturday, November 18, 2017

A Thrifty Week at Harvest Lane Cottage #113, Breast Cancer Recovery Update, and Thanksgiving Preparations

Welcome to another 
Thrifty Week at Harvest Lane Cottage!

Each week I share ways I've saved money, my thrifty and frugal projects, and my blessings from God. 

A Thrifty Week at Harvest Lane Cottage

I am so glad you dropped in for a visit today—or tonight!
Please say hello! I'm always looking for new blog friends!

Hey y'all! I'm back! Well, I'm back for awhile anyway. ~smile~ Here's the big news. My oncologist has now declared that I am in "rare, total remission"...and he smiled! I'd heard from the surgeon that the cancer wasn't in my lymph nodes or margins, but there was just something about hearing it from the oncologist that made it all the more real. I wasn't surprised the cancer is gone. I've known from the start that God is fighting my cancer battle. 

Still, the battle isn't over. I continue to recover from surgery. One of my incisions has been slow to heal, I still have pain, and I am trying to regain range of motion on my left (cancer and lymph node) side. The right side's doing great. Treatments will continue after Thanksgiving to make sure it's all gone, and it doesn't come back. There will be IV Herceptin treatments and a pill to take. I hope that I do not have side effects from those treatments. 

Radiation? Well, the oncologist is no longer absolutely sure I will need it. He's referring me to the radiation oncologist for his determination. Please pray for wisdom for the doctor and for my husband and I. We need to be completely at peace with the decision we make. We're believing God.

Well, enough about cancer. I hope you're making progress as you move toward Thanksgiving and Christmas time. I've not really done anything to prepare except to buy turkey roasting bags and marshmallows. ~smile~ This weekend I'll finalize the menu and make the grocery list. This year everyone will have to help with preparations and cooking. Fortunately, I've been teaching my children the family recipes over the last few years. It should be a really easy Thanksgiving for me. 

Well, enough for now—on to my blessings and a bit of our thrifty life.

A Verse for You

“But this I call to mind, 
and therefore I have hope: 
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end; 

they are new every morning; 
great is your faithfulness.”
—Lamentations 3:21-23


Here's my thrifty week!
  • My daughter is reusing our Teaching Textbooks math curricula for Geometry. This is child #3 using it, so that's money well spent.
  • My other daughter is attending the local community college. This is thrifty because her Pell grant goes a lot further than it would at a state university or a private college.
  • My son is reusing our Teaching Textbooks Algebra II text.
  • We were introduced to Khan Academy. They have lots of courses that can be taken for free online. My Amy is taking U.S. History and Health and Medicine. She finds the explanations quite interesting. 
  • We bought cheese, bread, lunch meat, and microwave burritos for those times when the kids need to fend for themselves. My appetite comes and goes, and I'm not cooking much yet.
  • We have received meals from kind friends through the Meal Train many times since my surgery last month. My favorite dessert so far was Deb's tapioca pudding! My favorite main dish was Donna's chicken pot pie!
  • Friends gave us money for lunch and for dinner this week. Thanks Niki and Deanne!
  • We received a check to help out with expenses from Donna and her family. Thank you!
  • I wrote a book review for Zonderkidz and received the book for free.
  • A dear reader sent me a gift check to help with Christmas expenses. Thank you Karen!
  • My dear friend, who took me to church and helped me become a Christian way back when we were in high school, sent me a gift card for Olive Garden. Thank you Kim! Read about how it all came about when I was Frightened of God.
  • Another friend sent me a box of tea, Christmas books, and scotch tape and a little fun money, too. Just what I need for December! Thank you Karla!
I've been blessed by so many people through this struggle.
Y'all have encouraged me so much in so many ways.
Thank you very much!
Love to you all!

That's my thrifty week.

What are you doing in your home this week?


...doing what I can with what I've got
where I am on a short shoestring budget!


Have you started listening to Christmas music yet?

Last year, I reviewed ADORE by Chris Tomlin.
It's become a favorite. I worship with it year round.

It's currently available on YouTube 
uploaded by Chris Tomlin. It's on my playlist.
It's in my car. It's on my computer. It's everywhere I listen to music!

Here you go! Take a listen!
I think you'll find it worth buying!


Friday, November 17, 2017

Don't Hate Yourself Over Bills!

I think we've all done it. We have robbed Peter to pay Paul. We've bought something on credit thinking we would pay it at the end of the month or some such thing. Maybe we bought a car on credit or ran up a bill at this place or that. We've all run up bills of different kinds in past. Some of us might be doing it right now. I've run up some medical bills recently. Thank you Jesus, we've been able to pay them. ~smile~

Some of us have run up balances all over the place. Been there done that. Then guilt and fear mount as we look at the bills coming in. Sometimes there's not enough money to pay them all.
Then the self-hate and self-loathing kick in.

Stop! Do not hate yourself for anything. Do not allow the devil a foothold. It's done. If it was because of something foolish you did, or because of sin of some sort, repent! Now ask God for his favor in getting the bills reduced and paid. It's not too hard for Him. I've seen God perform many miracles financially. This is the first year that we were able to get health insurance, and we just barely made it in time. Thank God we did. At over $40,000 for one chemo treatment, I don't know what would have happened otherwise. 

There are numerous ways you can cut your expenses. I've written about it extensively here on the blog. But this is the thing. You need to learn to do what you can, and then trust God. Getting close to Him is the best thing you can do to get through your financial hardships. Believe me, we've had major financial hardships in our thirty-one years of marriage. I spent most of those years fretting, worrying and stressing. I wasted those years, because I didn't have happiness and joy.

Build an Emergency Fund! Dave Ramsey recommends this as the first thing to do and to do as quickly as possible. For us, it's only $1000, but it's enough to cover a car repair. Most of our credit card debt years ago was for car repairs. Last year, when my husband closed our restaurant, we went from mid-December until April without income. No unemployment. Nothing but the little bit of money we'd been able to scrape together for an emergency fund—around $1000. 

We sold stuff. We gave things away. We prayed. I used what I had and made do. God a little there a little. We don't even know how. We just prayed for each need as it came up, and God took care of it. 
He will take care of you, too!

God will make a way. 

Go right now and read Psalm 34. 
Read it aloud. 
Faith comes by hearing,
and hearing by the Word of God!
Romans 10:17

I'm going to go read it right now myself!

God bless you!
Don't give up!
Do what you can with what you've got where you are!
Think creatively!

Stay out of debt this Christmas! Make the commitment now!

Blessed beyond the stress

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