18 October 2015

I Hate Goodbyes...



Yes, I truly hate goodbyes but there comes a time when nothing else should be said.

I have written and posted over 1230 posts in the years I kept this blog going and above all,
enjoyed meeting the kindred spirits who shared their thoughts and deeds.

Photos are often worth a thousand words I am told and the incredible pictures I have seen on the many blogs I have visited proved it. Thank you all for sharing!!

So this is goodbye...

Life is made of many such moments and while I do not like to admit, the hours are becoming more and more precious as I get (wiser) older. Like many people I find myself facing a few challenges and I value privacy more than anything else at this time. 

I wanted to thank each and every person who so kindly visited and commented on posts! I treasure each friendly line! 


Winnie said it so much better than I!

God bless,





17 October 2015

When Calls The Heart, DVD reviews

  • Studio: Shout! Factory
  • DVD Release Date: September 8, 2015
  • Run Time: 84 minutes

OVERVIEW

From celebrated author Janette Oke (The Love Comes Softly series) comes a rigorous and romantic adventure as epic as the wide frontier. Erin Krakow (Army Wives), Daniel Lissing (Eye Candy), Jack Wagner (Melrose Place) and Lori Loughlin (Full House, 90210) star in When Calls The Heart, "a beautiful story with roots in relationships, self-empowerment, and the enduring power of love", (Common Sense Media). 


Jack and Elizabeth leave Hope Valley and rush back to the city of Hamilton when they learn that Jacks’ brother, Tom, was involved in an automobile accident... with Elizabeth’s sister, Julie! But Tom and Julie are hiding something about the incident, a deceit that puts Jack and Elizabeth at odds with their families… and with each other. Their trip is further complicated when Tom and Julie endeavor to run off together (via train this time) and Elizabeth’s father offers Jack a job: an offer that puts Jack and Elizabeth’s fledgling romance in peril yet again.






  • Studio: Shout! Factory
  • DVD Release Date: October 13, 2015
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • ASIN: B0112HPTSC

OVERVIEW:


While Jack and Elizabeth’s relationship has cooled following their arguments in Hamilton, Jack is hot on the trail of a counterfeiter right in Hope Valley! When he finds the culprit, a two-fisted brawl ensues as Jack apprehends the man. Seeing Jack in danger prompts Elizabeth to confront her feelings and seek him out… but she inadvertently sets Rip, Jack’s dog, loose at the same time. As a violent storm bears down on Hope Valley, Jack and Elizabeth search for Rip and take shelter in an old mineshaft together. But the storm won’t be escaped so easily, and the unstable shaft begins to collapse…



My thoughts on both offerings:


My family has enjoyed very much this series inspired by Janette Oke's novel of the rugged Canadian frontier. From the exclusive behind the scenes interviews it appears the actors also feels the same and perhaps we might see more episodes in the future!

In these latest two episodes of When Calls The Heart we see a deeper relationship evolving between the honest and trustworthy Mountie and Elizabeth the city born teacher whilst both characters demonstrated their love and care for Hope Valley, the community they live in and its citizens. 
Of course as in any relationship there are always some rocky moments...
And if some of the developments are a little predictable, it is easily forgiven as we find our favourites amongst the series. Let's not forget the great sceneries and beautiful costumes!

There is no denying the chemistry between both main characters is owed to a good script and the sterling reputation of its director! 
When Calls The Heart series 1 and 2 reminds us of Little House On The Prairie, a timeless sitcom any family may sit down with and enjoy even today. 
So When Calls The Heart continues in a tradition of good family entertainment with excellent values for young viewers to grow with at the opposite of Hollywood's often tasteless assaults on our senses!

This Hallmark series is well worth checking if you are looking for something to gather the family around and spend quality time!

5 Stars for both episodes!!


Michael Landon Jr. – Executive Producer:  Michael Landon Jr., son of the late television legend Michael Landon, has been in the film business for over 25 years.  With two of the highest rated films in the history of the Hallmark channel, and several top ten releases targeted to the Christian market, Michael has become known for creating heartfelt, inspiring films that connect to the family.  He has developed and/or produced, directed, and written screenplays for Fox, CBS, NBC, Disney, Sony, Lifetime, and others.

About Word Entertainment:  A leader in the music industry for over 60 years, Word Entertainment, a Warner/Curb company, is a unique, comprehensive entertainment company comprised of multi-faceted artist service departments including publishing, merchandising, booking, and online initiatives. Word Entertainment represents some of the top names and brands in music, including Meredith Andrews, Chris August, BarlowGirl, Francesca Battistelli, Big Daddy Weave, Jason Castro, Patrick Ryan Clark, Everfound, for KING and COUNTRY, Group 1 Crew, Love and The Outcome, Dara Maclean, Point Of Grace and Sidewalk Prophets and is home to 25 Entertainment, Word Distribution (representing Curb Records and Big Idea/VeggieTales among others), Word Print, Word Films, Word Music Publishing and Word Label Group’s Word Records, Word Worship and Fervent Records.


Disclaimer: I received a copy of the DVD courtesy of EDIFY MEDIA Inc. as part of the series promotion. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own. 




16 October 2015

Adrenaline, DVD review


  • Studio: Word Films
  • DVD Release Date: September 8, 2015
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • ASIN: B00ZCIQ3U6

OVERVIEW:

After a crash leaves him paralyzed, drag racer Joseph Jenkins thinks his life is over. But his hospital roommate Elijah slowly gives him new perspective. When he returns home, his Uncle Paul gets him competing again---and winning. But can he face his nemesis Jason Skynard, the man he was challenging when the accident happened?

My thoughts:

Sometime life takes such a turn we think all is over and it is certainly the case for Joseph when he crashes and finds himself in hospital. 
There is however no rain without a rainbow and meeting Elijah is definitively the turnover point in Joseph's life who reluctantly learns to appreciate the older man's humour as he waits patiently for a heart transplant. For Elijah, everything is possible with God by your side, even the strength of living in and out of hospital for the last 40 years.
For Joseph, life without the thrill of racing feels hopeless but his friendly therapist tells him there is always hope and with hard work, nothing is impossible.

This is story that will touch you on many levels even if you are not into drag racing! John Schneider brings us as usual his own brand of faith and the supporting cast showcases well all the emotions each of the characters feels as the story develops.


I give it a 4 stars!


About Word Entertainment:  A leader in the music industry for over 60 years, Word Entertainment, a Warner/Curb company, is a unique, comprehensive entertainment company comprised of multi-faceted artist service departments including publishing, merchandising, booking, and online initiatives. Word Entertainment represents some of the top names and brands in music, including Meredith Andrews, Chris August, BarlowGirl, Francesca Battistelli, Big Daddy Weave, Jason Castro, Patrick Ryan Clark, Everfound, for KING and COUNTRY, Group 1 Crew, Love & The Outcome, Dara Maclean, Point Of Grace and Sidewalk Prophets and is home to 25 Entertainment, Word Distribution (representing Curb Records and Big Idea/Veggie Tales among others), Word Print, Word Films, Word Music Publishing and Word Label Group’s Word Records, Word Worship and Fervent Records.


Disclaimer: I received a copy of the DVD courtesy of EDIFY MEDIA Inc. as part of the series promotion. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own. 






15 October 2015

Faces Of Courage: Intimate Portraits Of Women On The Edge


  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Val De Grace (October 14, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984884988


Overview:

Mark Tuschman is a man on a quest. For the past decade, he has journeyed across much of the developing world documenting the travails and triumphs of women living in very difficult circumstances. On a daily basis, millions of these women face crippling poverty, sexual violence, serious health problems for themselves and their children, and often a total denial of even their most basic human rights. 

In this extraordinary photo expose, Tuschman documents it all, along with the efforts by many international organizations, aid groups, and doctors and nurses to help these women and girls cope, heal, stand up for themselves and become all they can be. This is reality in the raw, but as Tuschman shows us, these women have an almost unbelievable strength and resilience, and theirs are faces of incomparable dignity and courage. 
The book comes with endorsements from major figures in the world of women’s health and human rights.

My thoughts:

Look deeply into the photo above and now read its description:


- In the rural Pali district of Rajasthan, India, where child marriage is widely practiced, American photographer Mark Tuschman is at the home of young Kala, a child bride. Elegantly dressed for her portrait in a red sari, she looks into the lens of Tuschman’s camera with great dignity. Kala was married when she was three months old so that her family could avoid the payment of a dowry. She is now 13 and in seventh grade. She is still living with her parents, but will soon go to her husband’s home where she will be deprived of the rest of her childhood, trapped in a cycle of poverty that will include years of household labor and childrearing and very possibly, domestic abuse.-

Let me first say upfront I have yet to read this (newly released) compilation of what too many women face everyday in our world but it immediately grabbed my interest! 

Marc Tuschman was unknown to me when I spotted the cover of his book and the related article (see HERE) but I immediately sensed this is a man who through the lenses of his camera brings us stories of unparalleled dimension. 

There you will find the many faces of hunger, deprivation, despair, faces that reminds us the viewers of child marriages leading too often to teen pregnancy, dowry abuse and domestic violence including rape, human trafficking and prostitution to name only a few...

Editorial reviews tells us it would appear the most remarkable of Tuschman's achievement is that it also reflect the hope each and everyone of these women hold deep into their heart...

I recommend you purchase, beg or borrow this one as I will!!

"Faces of Courage is a photo essay of staggering importance. Tuschman has traveled the world to bring back portraits of girls and women struggling against great odds to make something of their lives. His riveting photos open up a window into the hearts and souls of women and girls fighting violence, poor health, oppression, and lack of opportunity. This book will become a part of you and will encourage you in your efforts to make a difference in the world."
 
Ruth W. Messinger
President of the American Jewish World Service



About the Author:


Image result for photographer mark tuschman

For nearly a decade, Tuschman, a veteran freelance photographer of over 35 years, traveled to seventeen countries—India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Laos, and Indonesia in Asia; Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi in Africa; and Nicaragua, Guatemala, Peru, Ecuador and Trinidad in Latin America. 

Note to Readers: I would count this book as an excellent gift idea for the Holidays and NO I was not asked to mention this book by anyone!




05 October 2015

Breast Cancer Awareness and Knitting


(Photo source Google)

I always enjoy visiting other blogs sites and 2 Bags Full (you'll love her latest creation!) reminded me only this week of a very important fact:

This October is once again National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point. 
The lifetime risk of cancer in women in the UK continues to rise just as fast (see statistics HERE).
The good news is that many women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early. 

• If you are a woman age 40 to 49, talk with your doctor about when to start getting mammograms and how often to get them. 

• If you are a woman age 50 to 74, be sure to get a mammogram every 2 years. You may also choose to get them more often. 

Talk to a doctor about your risk for breast cancer, especially if a close family member of yours has had breast or ovarian cancer. Your doctor can help you decide when and how often to get mammograms. 

As the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, I take this advice seriously and awaited with some trepidation the results of last year's biopsy...my own! With the upcoming of an MRI of the suspicious breast this year, I urge every woman to take the step...
As any good boy scout will tell you, BE PREPARED is a good motto in this ongoing battle. Don't wait!

And now calling all knitters...Autumn is here and most of us find the season perfect to pick up our knitting needles!

A&S.indd

This October The Campaign for Wool will mark the beginning of UK Wool Week 2015 by partnering with some of the world’s most prestigious tailors, menswear brands and cloth producers. 

Here is a sample of activities:
Monday 5th October 2015 saw two sheep breeds grazing ...the length of Savile Row! 


On Friday 9th October, The Campaign for Wool will be supporting ‘Woolly Hat Day’ in support of ‘The Mission to Seafarers’ charity that provides care for seafarers around the world. In the US, there is the Christmas at Sea program: be sure to check it out!

WHD15

There are many activities across the UK alone so check it out (HERE) and (HERE) and don't miss related events from around the globe (HERE)!

Finally let me advocate stress (any!) has been shown to lighten up with any good hobby.
Knitting happens to be one of those for me (sketching is another) and if you are a kindred spirit, you know what I mean. Knit one, purl one...pushes that negative stress away!

Back to knitting my Royal Luxury lapblanket
P.S. If you are not a member of FREE PATTERNS yet, check it out (HERE)

Note to readers: Any above mention of charities, websites or blogs reflects only my own enthusiasm and was not requested!



30 September 2015

Good Thoughts


(Photo source Google)

Sometimes on the way to your dream you get lost 
and find a better one!



29 September 2015

On Reading And Other Things...


As I have shared with readers this year has seen a few challenges in my life including a pesky eye problem which I am told cannot be diagnosed or cured...because of lack of research...

After seeing a fair amount of doctors, I have been told to learn to live with 'it' as no change has been detected. Easier said than done, the original problem remains and it has taken a toll on life in more ways than I ever imagine. No complaints though, there is worse but it upset my one favourite pastime...you guessed it, READING!

It would appear I must alter my banner from 'Book Reviewer'...Sad!

Still, KINDLE has been a lifesaver as I can adjust the print (providing I can keep at bay the recurring headaches...).
Thus I have been able to enjoy a few good books (particularly as I have been flying a lot lately and layovers are sometimes lengthy).

So here are a couple of titles I would like to bring to your attention if you enjoy reading:

The House By The Dvina: A Russian Childhood by Eugenie Fraser

  • ISBN-13: 978-1845965730

Synopsis:


The House by the Dvina is the riveting story of two families separated in culture and geography but bound together by a Russian-Scottish marriage. It includes episodes as romantic and dramatic as any in fiction: the purchase by the author's great-grandfather of a peasant girl with whom he had fallen in love; the desperate sledge journey in the depths of winter made by her grandmother to intercede with Tsar Aleksandr II for her husband; the extraordinary courtship of her parents; and her Scottish granny being caught up in the abortive revolution of 1905.
Eugenie Fraser herself was brought up in Russia but was taken on visits to Scotland. She marvellously evokes a child's reactions to two totally different environments, sets of customs and family backgrounds, while the characters are beautifully drawn and splendidly memorable.
With the events of 1914 to 1920 - the war with Germany, the Revolution, the murder of the Tsar and the withdrawal of the Allied Intervention in the north - came the disintegration of Russia and of family life. The stark realities of hunger, deprivation and fear are sharply contrasted with the adventures of childhood. The reader shares the family's suspense and concern about the fates of its members and relives with Eugenie her final escape to Scotland.
In The House by the Dvina, Eugenie Fraser has vividly and poignantly portrayed a way of life that finally disappeared in violence and tragedy.


What I thought:


I have always been fascinated by the Russian history and particularly the events leading to its revolution. This beautifully written autobiography will capture your imagination with its romance and dramatic developments. 

And it all starts with the author's great grandfather purchasing a peasant girl with whom he had fallen in love..
.
To note: the book includes many photos to recapture a world gone by!

One of the best books I have read lately and rating 5 stars!!


The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling



  • ISBN-13: 978-0316228589

Synopsis:

A big novel about a small town...
When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.
Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty fa├žade is a town at war.
Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils...Pagford is not what it first seems.
And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity, and unexpected revelations?

The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling's first novel for adults. It is the work of a storyteller like no other.

My thoughts:

I purchased this novel during a lengthy layover (that's what happens when you miss your flight!) and thought the story to be about Pagford, an idyllic village with colourful characters strolling amongst their cobbled market square, tending their little gardens etc...One look at the cover and I thought I was on a good thing...

Far from being the page turner I expected this one was disappointing. In fact it was hard to get into it and at 639 pages, more than I wanted to read. Those who are fans of the author and her work might well appreciate it but I can only declare it 'not my cup of tea'. I never bothered reading the Harry Potter series and fell asleep not one but twice through the movie...

To be noted: A movie was made of the book starring none other than the talented Michael Gambon so my suggestion is try that instead, it might make more sense!

I'll rate this one 3 stars!



Happy reading!