"A hug is a great gift - one size fits all, and it's easy to exchange." ~ Author Unknown

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


How to Enter: Send me an e-mail telling of a special blessing you received this year.

I'll post some entries in a future update.

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

Yikes! So Many Needs

Last holiday season I felt overwhelmed by people in need, first in my own community, the country, and the world.

For us giving begins in November when we purchase books through our local Barnes and Noble for kids undergoing treatment at Seattle Children's Hospital or Ronald McDonald House.

We give grocery items and cash to a local mission and area food banks. We contribute to our church, and we donate gifts through the Volunteers of America who distribute them to needy children in our community.

There is no shortage of people and places in need. Suddenly that warm fuzzy feeling, a bonus when we give to others, turned into anxiety over what we couldn't do. "The needs and request for donations are endless," I said to Loren. "We simply don't have the money to give to every charity," The Lord calmed my anxious heart with this quote.

"We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop." ~ Mother Teresa

My answer is to live a generous life and do what we can according to how God has blessed us. We leave the rest of the needs in His loving hands.

Word Challenge

Write "Christmas Decoration" at the top of a blank sheet of paper. Now see how many words you can create from the letters. Don't duplicate letters unless there is more than one, as in the case of "s" and "c". You can play this game in every season by using one or two words. Hint: having at least one "e" will increase the number of words you can make.

Here's some other word combinations to try:
Thanksgiving Prayer, Thanksgiving turkey, Summer Vacation ... You get the idea.

"Even if something is left undone,
everyone must take time to sit still
and watch the leaves turn."
~ Elizabeth Lawrence

I Thank Thee

O Thou whose bounty fills my cup,
With every blessing meet!
I give Thee thanks for every drop-
The bitter and the sweet.

I praise Thee for the desert road,
And for the riverside;
For all Thy goodness hath bestowed,
And all Thy grace denied.

I thank Thee for both smile and frown,
And for the gain and loss;
I praise Thee for the future crown
And for the present cross.

I thank Thee for both wings of love
Which stirred by worldly nest;
And for the stormy clouds which drive
Me, trembling, to Thy breast.

I bless Thee for the glad increase,
And for the waning joy;
And for this strange, this settled peach
Which nothing can destroy.

This beautiful poem was written by
British poet Jane Crewdson (1808-1863)

* Fall * Family * Fun*
Here's what readers had to say

Nat - Halloween, we allow our kids to go out treating, but only fun costumes, no scary or horror! Instead, we use it to visit many country friends who wait with baggies in hand for that visiting time, it takes us all evening to go 10 places! Last year, my older girl & I went around with the little peeps and collected to send in care packages to the USA troops. The little peeps chipped in goodies from their stash as well, in the end. A great way to focus on fall, bounty, people, and not self.

Loretta - I LOVE fall colors, fall leaves, riding the mountains soaking up the loveliness of the colors. Decorating my home with oranges, yellows, greens, reds, rusts.....I just love it.

Karen - Our family enjoys visiting Pumpkin Patches and all the fun that they offer...hayrides, mazes, choosing pumpkins to take home, jumping in the hay, and of course taking lots of pictures.

We have two grandchildren now so the adventures are even more lively and enjoyable. Fall is my favorite season!

Glazed Chinese Almond Cookies

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 eggs, separated
2 2/3 c. flour
3/4 c. blanched almonds, chopped (I put mine through a coarse grind)
48 (unblanced) whole almonds
1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. Almond extract
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in flavorings and egg yolks.

Add chopped nuts, flour, and salt. Mix well.

Roll dough into 1" balls. Dip tops in unbeaten egg whites. Place 2" apart, dipped side up, on cookie sheet.

Place a whole almond in the center of each ball and push down about halfway into dough. Bake at 350* for 10 minutes.

I let mine sit on the cookie sheet for about a minute and then transfer to a plate to finish cooling. These store well in the freezer. Makes 4 dozen.

A favorite in Chinese bakeries, these traditional cookies have a slightly crisp outer edge and a deliciously chewy center. When I was growing up these cookies were a staple at our neighborhood Christmas cookie exchange party. Enjoy one, or two, or three, with a steaming cup of tea.

Thank you, dear reader, for stopping by.

Please join me right back here January 2015 when we'll unveil a new website!

Until then may the Lord bless you and your loved ones with the warmth of his love, the assurance of his grace, and the joy of his presence.

Ring in the New Year with a smile, a cheer, and a prayer!