Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Day #90


Every day of my life I celebrate Easter, but Happy Easter to those of you who mostly celebrate it today! :)

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My friend, Barbara, shared this at Facebook:

"If you are avoiding the call of the religious thinking of today's world, and instead are "looking unto Jesus" (Hebrews 12:2) setting your heart on what He wants, and thinking His thoughts, you will be considered impractical and a daydreamer." ~ Oswald Chambers


... and oh! Welcome to my world. 

But you know? There is a price to pay for this joy inside my heart and I will gladly continue handing over my payment. I could buy a different type of life, a more accepted one amongst my Christian friends, even, but no thanks. I choose daily, eye-lighting joy with my Friend.


                                        ********

Wow! Loved this message this morning:


Life-altering stuff!

                                        *********

Tom and I had our taxes done yesterday morning. Whew. Don't you always feel like singing the Hallelujah Chorus when your tax return is over and done with for the year?!

And Tom's new job begins tomorrow, bringing changes to us both, some to my housekeeping ways. I'll need to iron more, be more organized in my shopping trips since I'll have the car less... you know, actually think ahead. Oh dear! heh. 

Yet these next days and weeks will have more of a springtime, Suzy Homemaker dreaminess about them, and well, you already know how I feel about that!


                                       **********

Wishing you all much, much joy!


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Confused by my title today? Go here.  :)

                                         
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Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday With A Different Spin

So as I always tell you every single Good Friday, I hope you didn't come here expecting to hear the ol', "Don't be unhappy--- Sunday is coming!" thing.

Uh, no. 


I simply cannot put Jesus back in the tomb all over again, for I can't, not even for 2 minutes (and especially not for a whole Friday and Saturday!) imagine waiting around for Him to rise again, living without Him in the meantime. 


My relationship with Jesus is moment-by-moment, He's more of a real friend to me than any of you are, even (no offense) and I believe this is why I've not had one single desert experience over the last 20 years ( a desert? With He who is the Living Water? How does that even work?). It's because Jesus knows that--without a very real sense of His constant presence--I'd be a disaster, a basket case and Life would be all wrong and senseless and lonely and well, dreadful.


And He didn't die so that I (or anyone else) could switch from a worldly misery to a Christian misery. ( I know too many bummed-out Christians. It's sad.) No, Jesus died to give us abundant, overflowing, joy-infused Life. And that's what He, alone, gives me. Minute by minute.


So today, yes, I'll recall Jesus' amazing sacrifice on the cross, but oh! Mostly I'll remember that He has already risen-- He has risen, indeed!



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Before you go.... Guess who got these groceries for her basement stockpile today for only $5.04? Woo hoo!




And I discovered today that there's a food pantry quite near my house so now I'll be able to drop off my extras very easily--yay! Don't you just love all the good you can do with sales and coupons?


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Oh! This was so very old-fashioned: At the Smuckers website (scroll down) you can get the mailing address for two free recipe booklets. You then send them a post card and ask for a booklet to be mailed to you. Isn't that cute and very reminiscent of the Old Days?


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"Why do you seek the living One among the dead? "He is not here, but He has risen."   ... from Luke 24

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Happy Easter to each of my kind readers!!

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Around My House Today


The times, they are a changin'! Anyone else noticing that?

And well, you know how we have different seasons in our lives? This, it appears, is my Preparation Season. 

Preparing for what, you ask? Anything. Everything. Any type of huge change in our Country, any new way we must learn to live, any disaster. Preparing mentally, physically, financially. Doing what I can, feeling stronger nudges, especially, with each new threat from those meanie North Koreans or after any news story from a host of other countries who despise us. Or after any perusal of Last Days-type blogs.

Preparing.
Preparing.
Preparing.

And mega readying myself emotionally. Standing closer to Jesus everywhere I go, be it upstairs, downstairs, at the store or on Main Street or in the yard. Listening and receiving love, comfort, strength and hope. And trying my very best to obey Him in easy times so it'll be second nature in difficult ones.

And remembering that preparation must come before a change, lest one find herself frantically trying to adjust to changes.... or just sinking beneath feelings of being overwhelmed.

Just in case you wondered what I've been up to lately.

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Did you know you can sign-up at the Dunkin Donuts website and they'll mail you a post card around your birthday for a free medium drink of your choice? 

I finally used mine today and now I'm sitting here sipping my free medium decaf latte. Yum. When the woman behind the counter handed me my drink she said, "Have a very happy birthday!" and I smiled real big and told her, "Thank-you!," leaving out the part where my birthday was ten days ago. heh. But I thought her quite thoughtful to wish me a happy birthday, especially since the place was positively zoo-like.

But then, Buffalonians are like that and I am determined not to miss one single blessing God floats down to me in my lifetime. Not one will I ignore.

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Oh! And just moments ago I discovered some youtube episodes with Coupon Mom. They are delightful and inspiring. Love.

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Tom has just two more night-shifts left on his old job, so last night he made his locally-famous chicken burritos (but turned them into enchiladas, instead, he told me this morning) and everyone adored them. The list of what he needed to feed these 20+ folks was huge, but the cool thing? I already had 80% of the items here in my stockpile and freezers thanks to sales shopping + couponing. Love having cheap groceries on hand, but then, you already knew that.


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Oh! And I figured out why I love those flash mob videos like Best Coin Ever Spent. I'm thinking Heaven will be sooo much like that! Both spontaneous and rehearsed bursts of songs and dance and joy in the (golden) streets in honor of our most amazing God! Those videos seem nearly like peeks into Heaven's windows... happy sigh...

Top 7 Flash Mobs of All Time

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We have crocuses, the sun is shining again today and I think I finally heard a robin up in a tree--hooray!

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"Noah walked with God."   ... Genesis 6:9


"Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!"   ... Psalm 95:1

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Great Deals & Free Food (Or Sometimes It Pays to Procrastinate)


Not interested in saving money? Better move on to the next blog...  :)

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So! Remember when we found this like-new 'electric woodstove' for just $10 at a yard sale? Well, as Tom predicted, I eventually stole it for Debra's World upstairs. But hey, it saved us lots of money that way--we didn't need our big natural gas heater nearly as often.

Yet many times I carried that stove downstairs (backwards--it's easier that way) on days when Tom and I watched movies together or on afternoons when sunshine spilled all over the dining room table and I'd sit there and read. But really, 54-year-old ladies ought not to carry stoves backwards down stairs, so we planned to buy another one at Home Depot.

Yet we kept procrastinating, mostly since it's just been too cold to go anywhere one didn't absolutely neeeed to go.

Sometimes it pays to procrastinate.

Remember how I've encouraged you to sign-up with a few of your local coupon bloggers? Well, yesterday one of mine went to Rite Aid where she found a heater nearly identical to ours marked down to just $29.99 from $119.00. I thanked her (through her Facebook page) and told her I'd certainly go heater hunting today! So guess what I found at our local Rite Aid? The very last heater on the shelf and for just $29.99.

Tom said he's very proud of me. Happy sigh. :)

And no more carrying a heater up and down the stairs. Whew.



Want to see more good deals and free groceries?

4 Palmolive:  .50 cents each (Dollar Tree w/ last Sunday's newspaper coupon. I bought 1 extra issue.)

Colgate toothpaste:  Free (store coupon from my last trip and sale)

19 Duncan Hines Frosting Flavor mix-ins: Free (online coupons have reset like crazy for 2 months! These can be used to flavor homemade ice cream, etc.)

2 Luna Fiber Bars: Free (online coupons)

4 Simply Mashed Potatoes: .50 cents each (online coupons and sale)

Land O' Lakes Butter: $2 each and I'll be getting another one free through the mail. (Online coupons, sale, and online refund form.)

Pennsylvania Dutch egg noodles: .50 cents each (earlier Sunday newspaper coupon and sale).

2 Seafood Snackers: free (I've gotten 8 free with online coupons and they make wonderful crab pasta salad).

Paper towels:  free (store coupon) I was actually paid .11 cents to take this out of the store.

Cracker barrel cheese: $1.50 each (online coupon and sale)

International Delight creamer: .24 cents each (online coupon with a close-out price)

To buy these at full price would have cost around $73

I paid:$12.50

And this photo doesn't even show other recent great deals: 

3 free Earthbound organic lettuces
2 free Reynolds Wrap foil
1 free seltzer water (was paid .21 cents to buy this) 
Another International Delight creamer for .24 cents 
2 more free Luna fiber bars 
4 free Birds Eye frozen vegetables and--

It's great fun buying groceries for 1970's prices and even getting lots of them for free. Great. Fun.


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Only last week did I discover the pilot episode online of Extreme Couponing. I really like Joyce on that episode. She'd be a blast to know in-person and I highly admire her for giving coupon lessons to all of her fellow shoppers in the store aisles! Gee, I wish I was brave enough to do that. I am, though, considering teaching a free couponing class in my home someday. That would be great fun, also.



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"... Freely you have received; freely give." ...   Matthew 10:8


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Why share these types of money-saving posts sometimes? So to spread hope that yes! God can still help us buy groceries and other items cheaply in today's extremely expensive world.


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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Best Coin Ever Spent


Today?

Just a simple reminder that lovely things still happen. All the time, everywhere.

Click here for a treat: Best Coin Ever Spent.


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Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee,
Op’ning to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day!




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Saturday, March 23, 2013

This Is Your Life











"Serve the Lord with gladness..."   ... Psalm 100:2

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This was a post from December of 2005 and exactly what I've been thinking about lately while searching for positive comments about the series, Extreme Couponing, but finding only 98% negative ones from people who tempt me to become more of an introvert than I am already. Sigh. I am actually using my birthday gift card to buy newer episodes of Extreme Couponing (hope that didn't make you swallow your gum-- ha!) and with the way our Country is headed? Well, we'll see who's laughing at whom when everything collapses and those with basement food and supplies stockpiles have not only provided for their own families, but are able to help others who did not prepare but only complained, gave-up and pointed fingers.

So there. (Insert a little smiley with his tongue sticking out here.) heh.

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My favorite Christmas present this year? The newly released set of This Is Your Life dvds. Oh my! This Is Your Life has always, since I was a child, turned me into an emotional wreck--in a good way, of course. I cry and laugh (often simultaneously) while I watch people reunited with those who had an influence on their early lives. How fun and inspirational to hear of the kindnesses actors and others performed behind the scenes of their lives. How lovely to watch their faces reflect joy, love and humility.

And, well, this past week as I've watched these amazing episodes, it has come to me over and over that right now, today, This Is My Life.

This Is My Life as I wash dishes and clothes and run up and down our stairs gathering laundry and Fiestaware mugs and bills to be mailed. This Is My Life as I arise in the mornings and pull back the heavy curtains at the windows to let the snow-light in and as I walk to the kitchen to make coffee, run back upstairs to read awhile, and then proceed to clean this old house with our furniture, antique and new, which I love so much.

This Is My Life as I walk out in the snow to pull the trash can back into the carport from the curb along with the recycling bin, too. This Is My Life as I care for this home while Tom's away at work and then prepare dinner for him by the time he returns. This Is My Life while the retro-shaped radio plays music in the sunroom like the soundtrack from my life and while our cats play with their Christmas toys beside the fireplace. This Is My Life while I write in this blog and teach and tell stories of my life to people I have never met.

And this is it. The only life I will have upon this Earth. The only shot I'll get. 

I am determined to make it a good one. I refuse to ruin it by spending my days wallowing in guilt, negativity or unforgiveness or trying to see into the future or reasoning my way through my days.

I refuse to stand before God someday as I give an account of my life and tell Him I knew better, yet I did not do better. I will not whine to Him that I couldn't help it if I was a sad, groaning, drunk-on-emotions mess. There will be no one standing beside me to point a finger at in blame, either.

Some people look for demons on every doorknob, but I choose to look for fairies. Some people concentrate on what's going wrong, but I choose to think about what's going right.

And some people choose to walk through this life alone, but since This Is My Life, I choose to walk through it with the Friend who sticks closer than a brother... the Friend who squeezes beside me in my recliner, His shoulder to mine, while we watch tv or read or dream on snowy days such as this snowy New Year's Eve morning.

***

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." ... Philippians 4:12


"And so each of us shall give an account of himself to God." ... Romans 14:12


From Proverbs 31:

She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar...
15     she provides food for her family...
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable...
    
20 She opens her arms to the poor

    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet...
23 
    she can laugh at the days to come.26 
27 

She watches over the affairs of  her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.

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Record numbers go hungry in the U.S.

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Creating Your Own Life


  “Be still, and know that I am God.."   ... Psalm 46:10 

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More snow here last night. Sigh.

But you know? Snow outside my windows can't stop me from dreaming about Springtime and gardening. When you have an imagination, you are rich. You can have just about anything you want.

My favorite people are those who dream first, then create what they dreamed. They don't give you fifty reasons why they're a victim who never has any fun, nor do they listen to Negative Nellies. No, they take you by the hand and show you all around the bright, custom-made world they created from what they'd first imagined.

Yep, those Dreamer-Doer types inspire me. Much.

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Do you still have snow outside your windows, too?  Well, here are some free (as of today) gardening books for your Kindle (the amazon kindle cloud reader, as you know, is free. Just sayin'.) to help you dream and plan your next garden when Springtime finally does arrive. 

Never, ever let money (or the lack thereof) deter you from dreaming, planning or going out and getting what you want, even if you have to create and tweak it, yourself. Doing that usually makes it more meaningful, anyway.

Where there's God's will, there's always a way. When you have an imagination, desire and God's blessing, you can usually find exactly what you need for creating a Life you'll love. That's what I say, anyway. :)

How To Grow More Vegetables

Home Vegetable Gardening

Gardening For Little Girls

Culinary Herbs: Their Cultivation, Harvesting, Curing And Uses

Organic Gardener's Composting

Small Gardens and How to Make The Most of Them

Vegetable Garden Pest Control

Gardening Without Irrigation. Or Without Much, Anyway

12 Best Herbs For Flavor and How to Grow Them

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"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."   ... John 14:27

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"What God orders, He pays for."   ... Joyce Meyer

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Gifts For Those Who Love Home Inspiration



Oh! Some of you home-lovers will enjoy these gifts I gathered just for you today:



After this video, I felt as though I'd traveled to a gorgeous river in summer time (gotta love that). The couple's deck, floating garden, writing cabin, potato garden, bedroom and, well--all of it inspired me.

I did have to smile, though, when she stated something like, "There's a simplicity to living off-grid." She said that while my eyes were still glazed over from all the complicated details they'd had to take care of in order to do so!

Tom and I could never live this way, but for whatever reasons, we do love watching other people who do.


This young man will restore your hope in teenagers. A kid who's actually thinking ahead to his future! Didn't know there still was such a thing....smile... Loved the desk in the bay window, the siding, his proud grandpa, the boy's tenacity and the cleverness of the whole darn project.

From Scratch Magazine

Oh wow! The premier issue of this farm magazine is nearly like seeing a free issue of Mary Jane's Farm online. Gorgeous photography and informative articles for those who farm in reality or mostly inside their heads (like me). :) A special thanks to Robin for sharing this with me via Facebook!


Photos From Beverly Cleary's Childhood Home


And if you've enjoyed Beverly Cleary's books, especially her autobiographies, you'll love seeing photos of her childhood Portland, OR home. What a sweet house! Thank-you, Sara, for sharing this link with me at Facebook!


These gifts should keep you all busy awhile. Enjoy your Thursday whether you have sun or snow or something in between....



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Oh! Did anyone else watch The Middle last night? The way the kids' project presentation came together was one of the most hilariously clever high school moments, ever. Laughed till I cried and even chuckled about it all the way up the stairs to my room.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My Twilight Zone Moment


Question: What is wrong with this picture?

Answer: It was taken on this First Day of Spring. Ack. Not one hopeful sign of Springtime anywhere out there. 

To live in snow country, you must be brave, rugged, patient and able to encourage yourself in the Lord like King David did. :)

And that's all I'll say about that.

*****

So! On Monday, Tom and I arrived at the medical complex for one of his back injections. This always means a 3-hour wait for me which I don't mind during lovely weather when I can relax outside in the car with coffee, snacks, books and opened, breezy windows and happy blue skies. Those are practically like days at the beach for me.

But these wintertime injections are never what you'd call beach-like. 

This medical complex is large and lovely, but oh! The waiting areas in the halls and front garden room portion... They are dark, hard to read in, for they have only recessed canned lights dotting the ceiling like mini stars. People walk around these areas all squinty-eyed, searching for room numbers. 

And you'd think the garden area with the huge window walls and plants would be bright, but noooo. Though they do have amazing you'll-fall-asleep-if-you're-not-careful black chairs, the windows face north, the floors are deep brown and the ceilings also have those mini star-like lights. 

One word describes this place: dark.

Anyway, I kissed Tom good-bye at his doctor's office then stepped down the shadowy hall to the mini bistro where I bought a decaf, then over to the vending machine for honey-roasted peanuts. Then I sat my purse and heavy book bag (with 4 terrific books) and coffee down upon a table, removed my coat, took a sip of probably the best decaf I've had in months and then realized with horror that I'd forgotten to bring my reading glasses.

And that's when I had my Twilight Zone Moment.

Remember that original TZ episode where the Earth is destroyed and only one man survived? And yet while walking in the midst of the crumbled-down city library he realizes one amazing thing: all those thousands of books belong to him and now, finally, he has all the time in the world to just read every incredible book ever written. 

Now, instead of facing a catastrophe, he's feeling gleefully blessed.

But as he reaches down for the first book, his glasses slip, fall, and shatter on some rocks. And he cannot read without them.

Heh. That scene suddenly appeared to me while I sat there at the table with four books, three hours, two dark rooms and no reading glasses.

But ol' Debra tried to keep her sense of humor. I finished my coffee while thinking happy thoughts then packed up everything, walked down the hall out to the large garden room and sank into the comfy chair nearest a huge window. I whipped out The Prize Winner Defiance, Ohio (my book with the largest print), aimed the pages toward the window 8 feet away (attempting to capture hopeful bits of a glare) and for the next two-and-a-half hours, squinted through just three pages at a time before pausing lest my eyes become strained. Over and over.

Oh, and fondly recalled how, until age 42, I'd had perfect vision.

Oh well! I survived. And even better-- I felt so blessed while, during my pauses, I'd watch people holding the glass doors opened for each other, running to do that in some cases, even though big square buttons open the doors automatically. Sometimes folks in wheelchairs (and persons behind them to push) paused before the doors (inside), waiting for their driver to bring the car through the snowflakes, and people walking in would hold the door and ask, "Are you leaving?", perfectly willing to stand there holding the door for as long as it took.

I do love Buffalo folks. And I do love a God who blesses us and gives us a sense of humor if we'll only stay open to receiving what He sets down right in front of us. And always remaining very, very grateful.


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Psalm 28:7 
7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. 
My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.


Philippians 4:6 
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.



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Oh! After we arrived home Monday from the always-scary-but-more-so-in-the-snow NYS Thruway, Tom and I finally watched The Odd Life of Timothy Green. Oh. My. Goodness. Absolutely loved that movie and cried through the entire thing. Highly recommended and it's squeaky clean--yay!

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Are You Prepared For Disaster?

So.

I'm nearly finished gathering supplies from this very basic emergency kit (I gave you earlier) inside a few totes in our basement. I'm nearing the point where--if we had just 10 minutes to leave our home in an emergency situation--we could do so without becoming all insanely panicky. We'd just be medium-panicky, instead. :)

That is a comforting thing, actually.

I'm even more closely prepared to hunker down for weeks here at Hobbit Cottage, should that be required, instead. Hopefully you won't see Tom and I on the local news in a wild-eyed crowd down at the supermarket right before (or after) a disaster. Hopefully.

Of course, none of us enjoys imagining potential disasters , but being a responsible adult requires thinking ahead, fun or not. At least it's more fun being caught prepared than unprepared.

Here's an article which amazingly states how I'm feeling about this preparedness thing. These days? This time in which we are alive? Hey, you never know.... and so I'll continue preparing for a future which only God, Himself, can see.


And there is comfort in that, also. That He sees what's ahead and can warn and direct us even before a hard time arrives. Whew. He is good.


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When God asks us to prepare ahead of time, He enables us to do so. He gives us the wisdom along with the finances, even if it just means stocking-up on two types of items per week or adding to emergency bins over a period of time. Where there's God's will, there's a way.... including the energy and all else required to finish well.

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Here's another Kindle freebie book (free as of today):
Survival Guide for Beginners

And another one:
Food Storage: Bug-out Buckets, Specialty Buckets, and Transition Buckets, for Preppers

And one more:


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"At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut."   ... from Matthew 25

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Monday, March 18, 2013

A Free Helpful Kindle Book For You



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Oh! Here's another present for you.

Grandma's Herbal and Homemade Remedies. You can get this eBook free for your kindle--at least, it's still free as of today.

I'm making a list of plants from this book to add to my herb garden in front of our house. I'm all for discovering herbal remedies and way, way prefer  running to those rather than my medicine cabinet. I currently take no med's and hope to keep it that way for many years to come. Books like this one help me much--this one is written simply and is easy to understand, thank-goodness! :)

Just thought you might like this eBook!


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Again, you can get a free Kindle Cloud Reader through amazon.com. I love mine and have found over 300 free books for it.


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Ha! This morning I accidentally wore my snow-shoveling coat to the supermarket. Eegads! That rattly ol' black wool thing is barely presentable for shoveling snow! heh. So I slipped it off and folded it over the sides of the cart both at the supermarket and Dollar Tree. Fortunately both stores felt warm enough without it. :)

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