Book Report #6

I’ve been under the weather for several days so I’ve done more reading than usual.

I pulled a book from my own collection. One I purchased at a thrift store of course.

I love reading Christian biographies. My greatest heroes of the faith  are those who followed God’s call to go into all the world and preach the gospel.*

poking-holes-in-the-darknessPoking Holes in the Darkness is an autobiography about how Judy and Jim Parlier moved to Papua New Guinea to live among a stone aged tribe.

When they arrived in their village no one would say Judy’s name although they quickly learned to call her husband Jim. It was months before she learned that the word jud-ee had an undesirable meaning in the Managalasi language. Eventually a woman explained what her name meant and gave her a new name Jaki.

Little by little as they lived with the Managalasi people the light of the gospel poked holes in the spiritual darkness the people lived in. Before leaving her home in New Jersey, Judy was confronted by someone who said, “those people have their own religion, they’re happy as they are– why do you want to change them? The truth is that the people’s lives were ruled by fear. Everything in their culture revolved around appeasing spirits.

A break though came when Judy, who had been mocking their belief in ancestral spirits attaching them, found herself under satanic assault when she broke a taboo. She overcame the enemy in the name of Jesus. From then on  instead of trying to convince the people there were no spirits, they began to teach them that there is power to over come Satan in Jesus.

The Parliers spent twenty years living in the jungle. They made a Managalasi alphabet, taught the natives to read and translated the New Testament into Managalasi. When other villages wanted to learn to read and learn about God too, Jim equipped native teachers to evangelize their own people.


*these include; Hudson Taylor, David Wilkerson, Gladys Aylward, Elizabeth Elliott and Bruce Olson.

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Book Report #5

The Family Nobody Wanted by Helen Dossthe-family-nobody-wanted

This biographical work tell the story of how Carl and Helen Doss ended up adopting 12 multi-racial children.

After the Dosses learned they could not have children of their own the adopted a baby boy Donny. A while later when they attempted to adopt a sibling for their son they learned that there were a host of couples waiting for each white child.

The Dosses were firm believers in one race “the human race” and were more than willing to take a minority child even when the adoption agencies of the day (1950s) were reluctant to place children of color in white families.

The family grew by as many as three children at a time but all the while Donny didn’t have “a boy my size”. Each  attempt to find a boy Donny’s age came up empty, but in the process a new baby or toddler was placed with the family.

There was opposition from all sides.

A social worker  asked “do you really think you can bring a dark-skinned child up to your social standing? Don’t you realize it is more likely that the same child will drag his parents down to the subjugated minority group?”

Carl’s own mother said she would “never allow a black girl to call me grandma!”

Carl seemed a bit reluctant with each addition but when he was offered a pastorate on the condition that they adopt no more children, he stood his ground and told the church board that the size of his family was no one’s business but theirs and God’s.

The children themselves were unaware of any racial differences. When they played Cowboys & Indians, a Native American  Cowboy chased after a blond brave.

The book is full of touching stories  as well as those of trial and tribulation in the Doss household.

The family came to the national spotlight when Life Magazine ran a story about the one family united nations.



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By Popular Demand

After posting about giving homemade preserves as gifts I had a request for my Peach-Raspberry Jam recipe.

2 cups seedless raspberry puree (from about 4 to 4 1/2 cups raspberries)

2 cups finely chopped peaches

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon Fruit Fresh or ascorbic acid

1 box (1.75 ounces) powdered fruit pectin

6 cups granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon butter

  1. Combine the puree and chopped peaches in a large, deep kettle. Stir in the lemon juice, fruit fresh, and powdered pectin. Stir to blend and let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Bring the fruit mixture to a full rolling boil over high heat. Let the mixture boil for 1 minute. Add the sugar all at once, then the butter. Stir to blend and bring back to a full rolling boil. Continue boiling for 1 minute.
  3. fill jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe the rims with a hot damp paper towel and fit jars with lids. Screw on bands just to fingertip tightness.   Place jars into the hot canning water and lower the rack. Add more hot water, if necessary, to bring water to at least 1 inch over the tops of the jars. cover the canner and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle but steady boil and continue boiling for 10 minutes.
  4. Turn off heat, remove the cover and let jars stand in the water for 5 minutes. Remove the jars to cool. Do not tip or turn the jars.
  5. Enjoy!

Don’t be shy if there is something specific you’d like to see in my blog just let me know.

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Frugal Gift Giving

This week I had two gift giving occasions; my friend Kira moved into a new apartment, and I took a hostess gift to Jerry & Monika’s when they hosted a Bible class.

For both occasions I went shopping in my pantry, which is full of homemade preserves, made expressly for this purpose. I’m always on the look out for unique recipes so my gifts will  be more interesting than what you would typically buy from a grocery store.

Jerry & Monika’s hostess gift included: Salmonberry Jam, Dandelion Jelly, Blackberry-Basil Jam and Raspberry-Peach Jam.

Kira’s Housewarming gift: Blackberry Syrup, Dill Relish and Christmas Jam.

I didn’t have boxes that were the right sizes so modified what I had to serve the purpose.


from this


to this

I used the same thrifted,”All-purpose” gift wrap on both packages, (There was no chance of the two recipients seeing the other’s gift.) My gift tags were handmade by simply layering the gift wrap with red & white paper.img_7991

I’m always on the lookout for gender neutral, all-occasion gift wrap while thrifting so when a gift giving occasion arises I can shop from my stash instead of the Hallmark store. I do the same with ribbon, my collection includes of just about any color imaginable.

As for the preserves, I did have to purchase pectin and sugar. Jars, lids and labels were all thrifted. Most of the produce was free for the picking, either growing wild or from the garden (for these gifts peaches and cranberries were purchased). The cost of those ingredients spread over the number of gifts I’ve given makes each gift monetarily inexpensive but comparable to high-end gourmet treats.

Please share your frugal gift giving ideas in a comment.



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Book Report #4

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramseytotal-money-makeover

In 1984 I purchased a brand new car. I took out a 60 month loan. An aversion to debt was instilled in me from childhood. I wanted to pay the loan off as soon as possible, so I always made bigger payments than were actually due. Every year I got a statement with the loan balance. One year the dollar amount was low enough I knew I would be able to pay it off very soon. I continued to make my monthly payments and some extra until by my calculations I was able to make that final payment. I walked into my bank, money in hand, and told the teller I wanted to pay off my loan. I broke into tears when the she gave me the pay off balance. I was crushed. Poor teller, she didn’t know what to do or say. She got a loan specialist on the phone to talk to me. That was when I learned that I should have specified  that the additional money be applied to the principle. In a few more months the car title was transferred to my name and I drove that car for 11 years.

I started listening to The Dave Ramsey Show because it was on during my daily commute. Though I am not the average American with debt up to my eyeballs, I found the show very inspiring and entertaining.

I’ve given The Total Money Makeover as  graduation and wedding  gifts because Dave offers very practical money advice. 2-diWhen I found a $2 copy at Deseret Industries I purchased it thinking another gift giving occasion may come up in the future. When I brought it home I decided to read it myself.

Reading the book is very much like listening to Dave on the radio. I could hear Dave’s voice as I read about the “Baby Steps”. Along with Dave’s advice on becoming debt free are numerous testimonials from listeners/readers that have achieved  financial freedom by following his plan.testimonials

If you’re in debt, this book offers a common sense plan to work your way out. I also recommend giving it as a gift to people starting out in life so they can avoid debt.

We are not through February yet and I’ve finished 4 books, I hope I can keep up this pace.

You may have guessed that my next report will be on The Family Nobody Wanted.


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Book Report #3

I took World History my junior year in high school. The only thing I can remember is that the teacher, Mr. Bogle, got a lot of flack from parents for displaying a Nazi flag in his classroom.  I don’t remember learning about Hitler’s rise to power or his strategies to systematic take over ALL of Europe.

I still wouldn’t call myself any kind of an authority on WWII history, but I learned a lot from reading My Brother’s Keeper by Rod Gragg. img_7847I checked the book out of the library after hearing an interview with the author on the radio.

img_7846Each of 30 chapters in this book tell the story of an individual, family or church who willingly risked their own lives to protect Jews from the Nazis.

Most of the stories are about Europeans who helped their Jewish neighbors and countrymen. Hiding the Jews in safe homes. Leading them through  wintery forests to safe borders where they would be out of harms way. One is of a teen girl who shared her lunch with a starving Jewish girl about her own age that was forced to work at a labor camp.

People from other countries did what they could too; a Chinese diplomat issued exit visas to every Jew who came to him for help.

img_7845A school teacher from Indiana moved to France where she ran a home where she could minister to sick and orphaned children affected by Nazi rule. Some set out to perform the heroic roles others rose to the occasion when they saw what was happening around them. img_7844When a captured American sergeant was ordered to identify the Jewish members of his troop he ordered all his men to report to the parade ground and explained “we are all Jews”.

All the stories were inspiring. Though the subject matter is dark I found this book an easy read that neither dwelt on Nazi atrocities nor glossed over them. I highly recommend My Brother’s Keeper.


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New Recipe #4 Zucchini Bread

When the harvest was in full swing last summer I stored 11 packages shredded zucchini.img_7735

My intention was to use them in my “go-to” recipe for Chocolate Zucchini bread. With my resolution to try 52 new recipes I took advantage of my stockpile to try a new Zucchini Bread recipe.

I searched my cookbooks and file box and decided on this one. recipe-cardA note on the back indicates I got it from KM. KM and I worked together 30 years ago at a fabric store. There is a possibility that I have made this recipe before but I don’t remember it so it qualifies as a NEW recipe. frozen-zuchinni

Zucchini Bread

3 eggs-beaten

1 cup oil

2 cups shredded zucchini

2 cups of sugar

3 cups flour

3 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

3 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup chopped dates

Mix together all ingredients. Bake 1 hour at 325 degrees. Makes 2 loaves.

The simple dump in a bowl technique and tasty flavor are points in this recipes favor. However, the 2 cups of sugar and the dates make it quite SWEET, a little too sweet if that’s possible. That, along with the fact  I don’t regularly have dates on hand mean I’ll probably go back to my old standby Chocolate Zucchini Bread.

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