"Autumn, the year's last loveliest smile."
~ William Cullen Bryant

Chicken Soup for the Soul six-pack!!!
606 Stories to Encourage and Inspire

Drawing CLOSED

How to Enter: Send me an e-mail telling of a special blessing you received this year. I'll post some of your entries in future updates.

Titles include: Reboot Your Life, The Cat Did What?, Inspiration for the Young at Heart, Finding My Faith, Devotional Stories for Tough Times, and Shaping the New You!

*** U.S. entries only please

Something Told the Wild Geese

Something told the wild geese
It was time to go;
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered, - 'snow'.
Leaves were green and stirring,
Berries, luster-glossed,
But beneath warm feathers
Something cautioned, - 'frost'.

All the sagging orchards
Steamed with amber spice,
But each wild breast stiffened
At remembered ice.

Something told the wild geese
It was time to fly -
Summer sun was on their wings,
Winter in their cry.

by Rachel Lyman Field


Don't have time to bake, but you want the scent of fresh gingerbread wafting throughout your home. Keep a batch of this simmering on the stove to add that spicy aroma.

4 Cups Water
½ teas. Cardamom seed
3 Cinnamon sticks
3 Bay leaves
2 tab. Whole Cloves
3 Lemon slices
2-3 Oranges slices
* Add more water as needed

"God knew we could never buy our way to Him - the cost was too great; we could never earn our way to Him - the task was too great; we could never will our way to Him - the commitment was too great. God knew we could never come to Him ... So He came to us!"
- Roy Lessin

A New Year has tiptoed in. Let's go forward to meet it. Let's welcome the 365 days it brings. Let's live well with love in our hearts towards God and all people. Let's walk through its corridors with praise songs on our lips."
~ Anusha Atukorala

Countdown to Thanksgiving

Decorate a jar or Kleenex box using fall motifs and leaves cut from colored paper. Place the container with a stack of recipe cards on the kitchen counter or in the center of the table. During dinner or before bedtime have each family member take a card and write down something they're thankful for, and pop it into the container.

Starting November first you'll have 25 days of blessings leading up to Thanksgiving.

When the family gathers for the Thanksgiving feast, pass the container around the table and have each person pull out a card and read it aloud. Hearing what other family members are thankful for will bring blessings all around.

Readers Share their Best Money-Saving Tips

Judy - My favorite money saving secret is (there's just the two of us): When I buy meats I buy huge cuts and this is why. For example: I can make three meals out of one roast. The first meal will consist of the roast, potatoes, and carrots baked in a roasting pan. You can add salad or anything else you want to this meal when serving it. The second meal will be a roast beef Manhattan, and the third meal I make barbeque sandwiches out of the remaining roast, or roast beef sandwiches. You can do the same with other cuts of meats. I found not only does this save us money, but saves me time in the kitchen too!

Rebecca - I cut out all fast food and started cooking like my grandmother. I have saved so much money, and it has been fun for me and my family.

Jackie - After having a huge amount of medical bills we had to cut back and do things differently just to get by. We started first by cancelling our Dish satellite. I thought we would miss it so much, but we got Netflix and we love it. We went from a $130.00 dish bill to a $9.00 Netflix bill. We shop thrift stores and never by new unless we have too, and then we look for bargains. We stretch our grocery bill by buying in bulk and comparison shopping. And then there is the good ole vinegar....for so many uses, from cleaning windows to killing weeds.

Julia - To save on our budget, I try to cook extra to take for lunches for my husband and myself. I shop at Ruler and Aldo as much as possible, try to make all my errands on the way to or from work to save on gas, and always ask myself if a purchase is a want or a need!

Wendy - For gifts, I've found a wonderful way to give a gift from the heart and save money. I make the gift. Whether it is a homemade scarf, sweater, pjs or something from my kitchen. Everyone always loves something that is made just for them. When I am not doing the housework or reading, I find knitting, crocheting and sewing something that calms my nerves and relaxes me.

Marlene - Over the years there have been many money saving devices, such as using grocery coupons, shopping the 50-70% sales, or simply not buying. When I was raising my kids, money was extremely tight. We didn't purchase to feel good or treat each other, we used time together instead. I still use these money saving techniques. When money is tight, any extras are automatically deleted from my budget. Period. And don't spend money you do not have. If you use credit cards, pay the balance each month - or budget a time sequence of payments with no more charging until it is paid off. There are so many ways we can cut finances and still live the good life.

For specific ways to cut down expenses during the holidays check out my Archived Life Notes, Holiday 2010 for my Budget Crunch Solutions!

Traditions anchor us to our family roots. Several generations of our family have enjoyed this scrumptious light bread during our Christmas candlelight breakfasts.

Though the recipe has several steps, it's easy to make. And what's better than homemade bread in the morning, fresh from the oven?

German Stollen Bread

1 pkg. active dry Yeast
¾ cup warm Water
½ cup Sugar
½ teasp. Salt
3 Eggs
1 Egg yolk (reserve white)
½ cup Butter, softened
3½ cups Flour
¾ cup blanched Almonds, chopped
2/3 cup Golden Raisings
2/3 cup Craisins
Zest of one Orange
1 tablesp. Lemon Zest
6 tablesp. Butter, softened to spread over rolled-out dough

(quick Powdered Sugar Icing and sliced Almonds for topping)

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, salt, eggs, egg yolk, ½ cup butter, and 1½ cups of the flour. Mix thoroughly about 10 minutes, scraping sides of bowl.

Stir in remaining flour, chopped almonds, golden raisins, craisins, and orange and lemon zest. Scrape all the batter together. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double, about 1½ hours.

Stir down batter. Cover bowl tightly, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. I leave mine in the frig overnight.

In the morning use a knife to cut the dough in half. Turn dough onto well-floured surface, coating both sides. Roll each half into an oval, about 10x7 inches. Spread each oval with 3 tablespoons softened butter. Fold ovals in half lengthwise and lightly pinch rounded edge.

Place loaves back-to-back on a parchment lined baking sheet. Beat reserved egg white slightly with 1 Tab. water and brush over stollen. Let rise until double, about 45 minutes.

Bake in preheated 375* oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly and frost with a quick icing of just enough powdered sugar and water mixed together to spread smoothly over loaf. Sprinkle tops with almond slices and serve.

Staying Focused

Every December I read the Bible's book of Luke. While reading about Jesus' birth, I consider why he came and meditate on his great love for us. The story never grows old. I never tire of its truth. Rather, in a world filled with turmoil, God's life-giving Word keeps me focused on the purpose for Jesus' birth and the reason we celebrate.

"For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved." John 3:17

May you find new life and fresh hope in Jesus this Christmas as you celebrate his birth. ~ Kathleen