26 March 2010

Review: Saint Patrick by Jonathan Rogers

Saint Patrick by Jonathan Rogers separates the myths from the facts and you will find this book to be a very interesting account of the Saint. Did you know he was not Irish but a Roman Briton?

The author introduces us to the young man who came from a wealthy family very involved in the Church yet whom himself was not much of a Christian. Until he was taken by Irish raiders and became a slave. The story unfolds filled with courage, barbarism, betrayal and yet young Patrick never gives way to despair. After escaping to freedom he experienced a vivid dream which changed his whole life.

He completed his education and took Holy orders then made his way back to Ireland. What follows makes this book excellent reading! You will not want to put it down!

I give it 4 1/2 stars!

I received a copy of this book from the Book Sneeze program to write a review. No other compensation was given.

Just Let Me Lie Down by Kristin van Ogtrop Review

I received recently the opportunity to review "Just let me lie down, necessary terms for the half insane working Mom" written by Kirstin van Ogtrop. I wondered if I could possibly relate to it as my children are now all grown up. I no longer have to combine work and family after all.

Two minutes in the book and I was hooked! And I laughed as I have not in a very long time This is definitely so humorous and well written. Kirstin van Ogtrop indeed intended for all of us to have a good laugh and to remember priorities in life using her own experiences and insights. The result is an alphabetically list of hilarious terms, lists, complaints, questions and reflections on the insane life most mothers leads these days.

I noticed Ms. van Ogtrop is also the editor of "Real simple". Guess who will check the magazine next month?

All I can say is I guarantee each of us will see ourselves in her description of highs and lows in real life. You will not want to put it down and I suggest to consider this book the ideal gift for any mother, young or old! Perhaps a Mother's Day present?

I give it a 4 stars!

I received a copy of this book to write a review. No other compensation was given.

The Undervalued Self by Elaine N. Aron, PhD, another Hachette review

I thought to look into something completely different for me: checking out a self help book and I must admit I was surprised to read this one.

The Undervalued Self written by Elaine N. Aron, PhD, explains clearly each and every one of us has an undervalued part of our self, something which causes us to feel anxious at times, unworthy and even depressed. Some of us deal with it easily whilst most of us (sounds very familiar) feels as we are losing the battle. We all care about the perception of others!

She goes on to tell us we can learn to recognized the symptoms, the little things that triggers these feelings and in some instances perhaps discover the traumatic experience that might also have created our feeling of inadequacy.

We are after all our worst critic! But it is possible to free ourselves of these negative feelings.
Her suggestion of developing new friendships and deepening existing ones reminds us no one is an island in itself. We need others to fulfill our lives.

I learned to see myself with this book in a completely different picture. When I closed the last page, I reminded myself Rome was not built in one day. But here is a start...

I very much enjoy reading this book and I gladly give it a 4 stars!

Disclaimer: Hachette Book Group has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.

25 March 2010

Crash, canine friend and birthday humour

Yesterday was a day of challenges. Iceland news told us the latest volcano eruption could still disrupt our trip home.

Email from a friend regarding an HAIN birthday exchange yesterday however brought a big smile to my face: who would not like to anticipate a birthday gift?

Her message came just at the right time! I responded by telling her I was having what my daughter would call a "crisis"! I spend Sunday in prayers whilst knitting a burial gown for a little Angel who died in the afternoon. I have never knitted so fast in my life but I was happy with the results. I hoped the family will be too.
I went on to tell her Tuesday however I decided to tackle the making of a birthday gift... I am not handy with much but knitting needles or even a bit of embroidery but I thought buying a pattern and a bit of material was a cinch...
After all, how difficult can it be to sew with a machine? But then maybe I should explain, I have hardly ever sewn with one before. 742482uor76y3h4t.gif Hum, 3 hours later, one broken needle and lots of prayers toward Heaven, I had an apron to offer...but I thought better to add a tag:"Do not wash me...EVER!" wormt.gif
742481rubaj90658.gif I think this picture described me perfectly at that moment!

Today however I told this friend about God not being finished with me. He also has a way to remind me I am not in charge...
Whilst traveling through a nearby town my husband and I and our best canine friend fell victims to a rear end collision.

Shaken, a tad bruised and our car damaged (we had to tie the back door with a rope to come back home limping...sigh...) we waited an hour and a half to get any help from the Fire Department (calls everywhere) and the Police Department (same for them). Then it was a rush to the Veterinarian to have our MacIntosh evaluated as he was in his crate in the back...

We are however safe and sound but mentally bruised: it could have been worse, a fire perhaps and no way to open the back door to reach our best friend... Sleep evaded us last night and while the insurances companies will debate our little car's fate we still have to pack to leave.

So our prayers today will include a quick note to God regarding
Eyjafjallajökull the volcano who woke up after 500 years, hoping that it does not wake up the other giant (Katla)! I am thankful also for our family who rushed to help us and take our best friend to the Vet and the good friend who joined us later!

We are really looking forward to our trip home!

23 March 2010

Christlike by Bill Hull, NavPress book review

In this inspiring book the author describes the cause of our "Christian" troubles, falling short of a true spiritual life, and compares it with real life. He gives examples of the spiritual growth most of us experiences and reminds us of the example Jesus gave, daring us to be different.

He goes on asking Churches to rethink what it truly means to be a Christian. For example, TV evangelists who claim the more you give to their ministry, the more God will give you back. Sadly the only ones blessed in this case are the TV evangelists. Expensive clothes and flashy lifestyle are often their trademark.

Bill Hull describes the real benefits to Christians being happiness, love and the improved lives of those we help. He then shows us how to become more Christlike and to truly make a difference in our world.

For anyone who cares to meet this challenge, this is a book to read. I could not give it any less than 5 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Iceland, tiny angel and life

It seems life is throwing a few challenges our way. Iceland has seen a volcano eruption, an airline mechanics strike and is also in the middle of a financial crisis. We will have to monitor Iceland news for awhile to be sure we can take off. Then it is a question of where does our aircraft land if we reach the point of no return if Katla goes (another volcano) sigh...

This past Sunday was a day of prayers and lots of knitting for a tiny Angel. Sadly this little one left for Heaven at 2.28pm whilst resting in her Mum's arms. I will be sending her family her little angel gown shortly and it seems so little. Ours is not to question, but how it hurts!

Tiny Angel rest your wings
sit with me for awhile.
How I long to hold your hand,
And see your tender smile.
Tiny Angel, look at me,
I want this image clear....
That I will forget your precious face
Is my biggest fear.
Tiny Angel can you tell me,
Why you have gone away?
You weren't here for very long....
Why is it, you couldn't stay?
Tiny Angel shook her head,
"These things I do not know....
But I do know that you love me,
And that I love you so".
-Author Unknown

20 March 2010

Home, neighbours and music

"Home is where the heart is" they say so I thought it a good thing to post a view of "home" and since it would not be completed without a peek at our neighbours, here are photos of two of our regulars! (I cannot claim Michael Crawford as neighbour however...)Music is something I cannot live without. I reach for the stereo before I put the lights on! I love music and I have my preferences of course like everyone else!

I would describe my tastes as eclectic but I love classical especially Mozart, Chopin and Tchaikovsky. I also love Strauss, Miles Davis and the Big Bands particularly Glenn Miller and his orchestra and let's not forget Elvis Presley singing the Gospels.

Recently I remembered hearing Michael Crawford in "Hello Dolly" and that as a teenager I was drawn to his voice. So our friendly library provided me with 2 of his CD's and I have enjoyed hearing his voice all over again.

This time I discovered his album called "The Disney Album" and "A Christmas Album", the latter dedicated to his grand children. Absolutely enchanting! And let's not forget his wonderful rendering of the Phantom of the Opera! I am indeed a fan!

My teenage years are over but thank you Michael Crawford for sharing your wonderful talent! I loved hearing you all over again!

As for the "neighbours" they are so tame they come right up to you to beg (and yes, it works!).
Dreams, good dreams and full of music...

Just a note: I was not compensated in any form for this posting (neither by the doe or raccoon or by the celebrity).

The Red Letters Project Review

The Red Letters Project, Book of Matthew is the latest audio set I was given the opportunity to review and I must say it is definitively different.

It will certainly grab most teens and young adults interest and I will add it is a great item for anyone who listens to rock music. Any parent or grandparent looking for a way to get their kids or grand kids into (or back into) the Word will appreciate this offering, and it would make a good gift for that age range.

I was surprised to notice the producers chose not to include the important chapters including the birth of Jesus, a mistake as far as I am concerned. I also had a hard time to hear all the lyrics as the music overpowered it at times.

I probably would have appreciated it more a few years back when our daughter listened to (loud) rock and we constantly reminded her to reduce the volume!

I could only rate this one 2 stars!

Disclaimer: Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this set.

19 March 2010

Angels, NKH and hope

Angels have a special way to come into our heart and once there they never leave! In the last few days I often thought of the many little angels that touches our lives.

I count my blessings to be a part of HAIN
(http://heavenlyangelsinneed.com/) and I am glad my love of knitting might helping a little the many families and angels in need.

Today I learned a new name: NKH or
Non-Ketotic Hyperglycinemia. Anyone can check the site (http://www.nkh-network.org/) and find out more about this disease as I did. Doctors are hopeful.

I can only pray there is indeed hope in the near future!

The above sites mentioned have not remunerate me in any way but are certainly worth checking and I hope you will!

17 March 2010

Birthdays, Corgi and happiness

My birthday boy! MacIntosh turned 4 years old the sixteenth of March and is no longer a puppy! Looking back at the last three years since we adopted him I count each day as blessed.
In exchange for 2 half cups of food daily, throwing his ball and a few treats, I get all the Corgi love he can give me

Doggie park walks (no leash, Freedom!), beach combing (love all that sand!), hikes in the mountains (fresh air, squirrels, chipmunks...) and rolling in the snow (Oh, it feels so good!) are amongst his favourites! Our big boy does not like rain however and forget about swimming! Heek! Water!

I will be leaving a long list of "must do" for his caretaker whilst we are gone and I will look foward to all those corgi kisses upon our return! MacIntosh will miss us as much as we will miss his smiling face!

Every day I click on the Animal Rescue site to help one of the many who are still awaiting to be adopted. It is such a little thing yet it just might make a difference!

The Animal Rescue Site

Note: I received no compensation for this mention. I support their work however whole heartily!

14 March 2010

Precious memories, prayers and knitting

Sometime we forget that Sundays should be different from the weekdays. Our busy lives demands that most of us treats it like any other weekday, often catching up to prepare for the following week.

Chances are some of us go to Church, perhaps spend the day with family or friends or likely due to economics work like any other day!

But today I thought since I was lucky enough to choose what I want to do I will treat this day differently. Prayers will be utmost in my mind.

As a member of http://http//heavenlyangelsinneed.com/ I will knit whilst remembering a precious little girl will be born tomorrow 15 March 2010 with many challenges. Her family is preparing for this beautiful little angel and I know she will touch them in many ways.

A photographer http://http//www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org/will help preserving their precious memories and I just know her family will pray as they never have before to have the strength to make every minute count.

I was asked to prepare something for her and I hope it will be just what her Mum hoped for! I know this little Angel will always be remembered!

Note: I support both organizations with all my heart but I have not received any remuneration for including them in this blog.

13 March 2010

Malvern Hills, Primroses, and dreaming

It seems like a long time ago when my husband first showed me the Malvern Hills and I really enjoyed the strolls we took there along the years! A pilgrimage of sorts, we always go back when we visit, that we have time to walk the hills or just pass by.

Primroses are usually in bloom when we go home too and I love their blooms along the paths!

It all belongs to special memories I never want to let go of.

A long, long time ago, two people shared the following dreams with me and this also is part of memories I will remember always:

"It is to dream, it is to dream of magic and fiery dragons, it is to dream of songs of peace and melted guns, it is to dream of freedom for the children, bright new mornings for our daughters and our sons. It is to dream without the fear of being different, dream of doing what other folks don't do. It is to dream that life could be what it should be, it is to dream and believe that dreams come true.
Dream on people, dream on."

"There is a destiny that makes us brothers. None goes his way alone and what we send into the lives of others comes back into our own".
Always remembered, never forgotten!

11 March 2010

Intercessors Arise by Debbie Przybylski

"Blessed is the man who do not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he medidates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prosper."

-Psalm 1:1-3

All of us struggle with prayers. We live such a busy life, filled with distractions and many concerns such as family problems, finances difficulties, job security and many others challenges.

Debbie Przybylski reminds us that there is hope in this fast paced life of ours. Focusing on prayers inspired by biblical passages, real world events and key concepts she teaches us to remain true to God's teachings and to pray more deeply.

Our world is in need of change and when we pray, individual lives change. Imagine what we can do all together! This book will help you to remain focused. It is a great tool for anyone praying for family and friends and it holds excellent instruction for small groups as well as classroom courses.

I found it to be uplifting and I gave it a 4 star rating.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

10 March 2010

Dover cliffs, tea shoppes and time travel

Somehow when you retire from the work force the days all seem to blend... and yes I forget what day of the week it is! According to the calendar however we are soon leaving.

Packing is not something I worry about it! I often tease my husband in regard to his batman. The poor chap must have been busy as they traveled around the world twice!

I on the other hand, do not wash windows (if I can help it!), I will not mend socks (this is not required of any wife!) and I pack at the very last minuted (if I forget anything, Booths, here I come!)

I have however if you will recall talked of lists as in wish lists thus I feel I am ready!

There is the list of the places we always go back to such as the Cliffs, it would not be the same without a walk along the coast or a stroll through Canterbury for i.e.

A stop perhaps in a old book store (yes, I have a list for this also, I am a fan of Catherine Cookson!) or maybe a stop in a map store (the latter will enthrall m
y husband for ever).

I also have discovered the series of the Tales of Dimwood Forest and I just know my daughter would love to add Poppy and Rye to her shelves (if she does not know this series)!


There are a few wonderful (hopefully) shoppes to visit, kitchen gadgets (lakeland.co.uk), linen and yes, knitting (erikaknight.co.uk)!

Walks to take along the beaches, tea shoppes to enjoy and see how everyone in our family has fared in the last few years.

Time travel sounds so wonderful at times. We miss so much being so far away!
It is so easy to say hello, not so when you say goodbye... Some dreams however do come through! We will soon be there!

Note please: I share these websites with anyone and was not remunerated in any way!

08 March 2010

Children's Dreams, Faraway Places and Lina

As little children we read of faraway places. My all time favourite story was Kim by Rudyard Kipling. Kim's game as it is called to this day I believe was in fact something I excelled at when I was little.

I was so taken with the story I could close my eyes and smell the spices in the market, see the mountains in the horizon and feel the love of Kim for the old monk. My heart sped at the dangerous situations Kim found himself and thrilled at the thought of finding his "place" after being abandoned.
I wanted to be a boy just like him!I would have traded my tresses if I could!

Traveling came to an earlier age for me as my father was stationed in various foreign locations. I also was blessed with a Grand Mother whom whilst she raised us loved to travel. In fact holidays were always an adventure with her. She loved to discover new places and people.

She also kept travel diaries and reading a few pages lately of a trip she took to Monaco I was again amazed at her ability to pen every details. I could "see" the Promenade des Anglais, smell the flowers and hearing the buoys in the harbour.

Faraway places have therefore always attracted me and I love to travel. And it matters not where you are in the world, children are all the same. Their smiles. their games, their soulful eyes at times will stay with you.

Our family has often spoken of the little ones in need in those faraway places and we discussed what we could do about it so this year we decided to choose one child and sponsor him/her.

It cost one dollar a day and it seems so little to do when so many need help.
We hope to make a difference and make sure this child is not hungry or lacking the sanitation needed for a healthy life.

All children should have the right to a happy childhood, a good education, medical care and such...

So our family has grown a little this past week and we welcome 9 year old Lina! Her own family is from South America and we understand her Mum and Dad albeit poor by our standards own a little house in their village and Lina goes to school.

We cannot wait to learn more about her and we are eagerly looking forward to exchange letters!

I wish I could urge anyone to help out in anyway they can. Times are difficult for many families due to Economics but if you remember how often we carelessly spend a dollar here and there for ourselves, perhaps making a difference in the life of one child might not such a hardship!

Putting a face to a child will ensure we never forget to share what we have!

The organization we chose is the following but there are many. Please remember the little ones!


07 March 2010

Buried Alive by Roy Hallums, A Booksneeze Review

This is truly a fascinating book and I am glad I had the opportunity to review it!

In Buried Alive, Roy Hallums recounts his story simply with no dramatics, just his courage and strength. His faith in God and Country shines throughout the narration. Suffering unbearable cruelty, humiliation and starvation, he takes each day one at a time.

Mr, Hallums was sealed in a concrete tomb for months sometime with other captives, sometime alone. He turns those long hours into "adventures": an incredible road trip across the US one day, a visit with family and friends another day. These mind travels allow him to stay in control during his confinement.

To this day this is the only American rescued and I guarantee this to be a hard book to put down.

I gave it a 5 star!

I received a copy of this book from BookSneeze to write a review. No other compensation was given.

Peonies, teatime and relaxation

Peonies brings to mind the old times, quiet and relaxing. Large porches decked with rattan furniture, potted ferns, and teatime with dainty china cups and tiny cakes served on lovely lace tablecloth or even a sunny corner in the garden with a couple of chairs and an old table.

We always had peonies growing in our backyard and I miss seeing their wonderful blooms. A very thoughtful neighbour and friend has been sharing hers with me and I love to see a few blooms on the table!

I have always prefered linen on our table and I have find some wonderful treasures in thrift shoppes including tea cups, small dessert plates and tiny vases. I like to create a small corner on our (tiny) porch in the summer and relax during the summer afternoons along Tobbington our Corgi!

A basket holding my latest knitting project, a good book and a cup of tea! There are so many choices: Earl Grey is my favourite however but I also drink any green or herbal tea. It is a wonderful way to relax!

Life is so hectic these days and we should learn again how to relax as our grandmothers use to on those long forgotten afternoons...and dream...

05 March 2010

Baby seal, sea shells and remembering

I missed the baby seal spotted on our beach last week. I would have loved to see one again! They look so precious.

I found that I am not nearly walking enough on our beautiful beaches (we have two) and I will try harder. I have always loved to be close to the ocean and I enjoy beach combing picking up seashells and what not.

The surf especially draws me, its sound unlike anything else. I could walk for miles along the shore, just listening and remembering my childhood.
My Grand Mother was born and raised around the sea and she could not stay away for very long!
We were always spending our holidays along the coast and beach coming was her favourite especially after a stormy night!

I have a lovely clear glass vase I store "my pretties" in. Small seashells, bits of washed glass all polished by the waves rolling in, even a small urchin shell...

I remember and I have not forgotten...

04 March 2010

Mice, gifts and sewing

I have seen so many "pretties" on blogs, I feel it is time to try something different!
Knitting is something I love to do and I am getting better and better at it or so I am told. Everyone loves a compliment now and then!

Sewing, well... That's another matter entirely!
I have a sewing machine, a very nice made in Japan heavy duty machine...(I really should check the name brand). It seems to sit there a lot...

I recall having sewn a few items for our daughter in the past, mostly Halloween costumes, her favourite holiday! From what I have seen in photos, I even sewed a Superman cape for our son...
So why am I always struggling with threading the needle? And that is just the beginning!

When I spotted the funny little mouse above I decided to try sewing again... I want to sew something as a birthday gift and I have decided an apron might just be the thing to start with.

The little black sheep below however is much more like me...I know, I know, God is not finished with me yet!

I will, I will said the little train... Dream on...

02 March 2010

Oil For Our Lamps and Preparedness

This past Saturday I was invited to attend a Women Conference titled "Oil for our Lamps" and it brought to mind many things.

The presentation in itself was beautiful and the singing very uplifting! I realized I would have been very sorry if I had not attend and I made the most of my time spend with other ladies listening to speakers and hearing others sharing their experiences.

I find myself at a time in my life like so many others I imagine, wondering if I am indeed prepared. Do I have enough oil for my lamp? Have I listened and learned enough to sustain me to face the times when my lamp will be needed?

Is my Faith strong enough to help me in bad times as well as good times? Should I be more willing to prepare myself spiritually and physically? Am I really too busy to do more? And most important, have I done enough for my family? Are they prepared?

Being prepared is something we can do in so many areas in our lives. It is not limited to Faith and preparing for life after death but also in the event of a major catastrophe.
As the daughter of a commissioner for the Boy Scouts movement and the wife of a scoutmaster, I have always been told that "Be Prepared" in an excellent motto.

One of the speakers brought to our attention however that our outlook on disasters especially needs to be adjusted. It is no longer if but when something will happen. The YoYo statement or You are On Your Own certainly reached out to all of us especially in view of the recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chili and the remembrance of the aftermath of Katrina.

As women we find ourselves the pivot of our family and therefore it is on us that our loved ones will depend for survival. Getting organized for possible disaster does not mean we have to be pessimist and expect the worst but to be prepared for such eventuality would make a major difference.

I must admit I have been too laid back in regard to stocking food for example (something my daughter reminds me of daily) and too trusting in regard to access to water. Our community owns the water system but in the case of a major catastrophe I just might have to face the possibility I might not be able to rely on it.

Our First Aid kit has been depleted as well and whilst I know my family does have some measure of survival skills I also know I have no outside contact (a person outside of this area we can all contact to find out how any of us have managed). I am also too trusting a disaster will happen at home whilst it could very well happen anywhere.

At times I found myself smiling like others whilst we listened to the speaker last Saturday. It happens elsewhere, often in poor countries, we are better prepared for anything, we know more today than ever etc...

At other times I was jolted out of my complacency: help will not come in 72 hours (so why is my pack only for 3 days?).

In the event of a major disaster such as Natural, Economic, Pandemic, Earthquake I have nothing to use for commodity. Post War Germany found their citizens using salt and oil for theirs!

I learned at this Emergency meeting that 4 pounds of salt is needed per person per year... 14 Five gallons buckets filled with charcoal briquettes will allow a family of 4 to have one warm meal a day for a whole year... Scope is excellent as an alternate antiseptic, you should always carry a whistle and our bodies craves warmth in time of stress...

So I have taken duly note of the many sites mentioned on that day which will help me to be MORE prepared.


The class ended with the following statements:

- It is better to be a year too early than a day too late!
- When it starts to rain, it is too late to build an ark!

I must admit I am not as nearly close to being prepared. I will try harder in all areas but I am still a dreamer...