26 June 2010

Homecoming, cats and dogs

Home at last! After some delays, a ferry ride to the island (sure to be a first for her!) Maira is home with us and gladly took to her new tree house as MacIntosh decided to let her know whose house she came to!

Sigh... It will take a little while for our Corgi to understand he is not a only child anymore.
Luckily for us, he knows her and has in fact visited HER house a few times in the past!

Our own island house, one bright (too smart for his own bloomers) Corgi, one beautiful long haired kitty and we finally have sun! We are blessed!

25 June 2010

Faith, frienship and Jerusalem

We happened to be blessed with wonderful friends who never fail to amaze us with their thoughtfulness. We have learned many lessons from each one of them and we can only pray we in turn, have something to give them.

One of these friends will show up on the door steps, rain or shine, in good times and bad ones just to say hello, how are you, I missed you and bring with her the feeling we are family.
Families are meant to be there sharing good things and bad things. They will support you in your times of need, they make you feel you matter, they give you their trust and do not judge, they share their love, asking nothing in return. She is truly special!

Thus once more this friend shared her latest treasure: a wonderful set of DVD's produced by a man whose beliefs will reach out to you with no church boundaries. It matters little who you are for if you believe in Christ, you will hear Truman Madsen and witness his faith.

My family and I gathered each evening for 4 days to see and hear him speak. His eloquence and convictions, the locations he chose to speak of Christ as the Saviour enables any of us to follow in Jesus' footsteps.

I am an humble dreamer and I hope to see Jerusalem one day and the land of Israel. This tiny country who so often throughout the centuries was ravaged by wars has so much history for anyone to discover.

Truman Madsen shares with you the many years of historical research, the translations of precious manuscripts and allows you to see the many sites Jesus is believed to have walked through His life.

Throughout the DVD's we saw beautiful areas of Israel, wonderful still prints of the Palestine of years ago and felt the wonder of one man's awe for His Lord. A quick search engine allow me to find out that sadly this Christian recently passed away. But his legacy will not be forgotten.

It is said that to believe is to witness. I can honestly say this was a special moment in our lives.

If you wish to see for yourself, I recommend you check out the following:

Note: I received no compensation for the above statement. I only wish to share with you the opportunity I received myself.

En Gedi Waterfall
(one of the many sites I hope to see someday)

The Heart Mender, a story of second chances by Andy Andrews

The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews
Anyone who is acquainted with me will tell you how much I love to read so when the opportunity came to review this book I jumped on the occasion.

Since the USPS took a VERY long time to deliver this latest tome to our mailbox, I almost psyched myself into believing there is a reason for everything after all and perhaps this one was not for me.
Then after checking again the mail (requiring a ferry ride each way since this is a private island and there are NO deliveries here) my husband came home waving the Thomas Nelson parcel and I just knew this one was meant for me.

Every so often you find a really good historical novel.
Written by best-selling author Andy Andrews,
http://theheartmender.andyandrews.com "The Heart Mender" tells a story of love and loss in a time of war.

Albeit based on facts mostly unknown by most of us, namely the presence of U boats in the Gulf of Mexico during WW 2, this novel is about the many emotions experienced by people in times of trouble and hardship.

It is fast paced, well written and has all the ingredients which makes it a story you will not want to put down: love, hate, murder, intrigue, deception and survival.

This is indeed a compelling story of second chance, of forgiveness and real people (names were changed to protect their privacy) in a small town along the northern gulf coast faced with the realities of war.

I find it a wonderful read and I heartily give it 4 stars!

Please note in compliance with the news rules and regulation of the FTC commission I was provided with a free copy of this book, courtesy of Thomas Nelson.

20 June 2010

Summer, bluebells and misletoe

Summer is here, according to the calendar at least... It does not feel much like it with all the "occasional" rains, the cool nights and the resulting dampness. Who would have thought we would still have the heat on even if "occasionally"! Let's count our blessings though as we have no tornadoes, hurricanes or wild land fires...so far!

We have now many fawns on the island and it is a pleasure to see doe and fawns wandering across the lawn!

And as we are counting our blessings (and not the shadows) we celebrate our son in law's birthday this week. Since his only request was for Chocolate mousse, I pulled out our all time favourite recipe to indulge him!

Before we will have a chance to go back to the cabin I think we will miss the bluebells. How sad! I love to see them even if they do not grow as prolific as in the UK! There you might see all carpets of them whilst we have only a few here and there!

Mistletoe also grows everywhere in our mountain hideaway. I think of it as a blessing for our land yet I hear it is considered a nuisance and should be removed from the trees...Sigh...

But what I like best about mistletoe is the Christmas memories it brings to mind! And since I was thinking about Christmas, I thought to look a bit more to discover what is behind the mistletoe tradition:

"The history and origin of the Christmas mistletoe can be traced back to the ancient Scandinavian custom as well as to the Norse myth. The Scandinavian people believed mistletoe to be a plant of peace. Even if enemies happened to pass beneath the plant, they had to lay down their arms and call truce atleast until the next day. Slowly and gradually, this custom gave rise to the kissing tradition that is still in vogue. However, Christmas mistletoe is also very much associated with one of the Norse myths, known as the myth of Baldur.

Baldur, the God of vegetation, was the son of Norse goddess, Frigga. When he was born, Frigga made each and every plant, animal and even inanimate object promise that it will never ever harm Baldur. Somehow, the mistletoe plant escaped the attention of Frigga and Loki, the enemy of Baldur, took advantage of this lapse. He tricked one of the other Gods into killing Baldur with a spear made of mistletoe.

With the death of Baldur, winters came into this world. To correct this situation, the Gods restored Baldur to life. After this incident, Frigga pronounced the mistletoe to be a sacred plant, which would bring love in the world, rather than death. From then onwards, whenever two people pass under mistletoe, they kiss and celebrate Baldur's resurrection. Apart from the customs and myths, the Christmas mistletoe has also been associated with kissing as it is regarded as an aphrodisiac."

"Kissing underneath a branch of mistletoe goes back hundreds of years, certainly to the early 17th century. But legends about the curious plant go back even farther, even to the time of Christ and earlier. One legend has it that the wood of the cross of Christ was made from mistletoe, and supposedly for that reason the mistletoe plant has been doomed to live as a parasite, and is so classified today, making it condemned to live on the goodwill of other trees. Shakespeare in Titus Andronicus called it “the baleful mistletoe,” no doubt referring to the fact that in large quantities the waxy white berries are toxic. On the other hand, ancient Druids thought the plant had healing, even magical, powers.

Because of the Druids’ use of mistletoe, Christians banned its use in their churches in England
and because mistletoe grows primarily on apple, lime, poplar and hawthorn trees in the Midlands and around York, it was a local favorite there long after the Druids were in decline. So in the famous minster at York, its use during the holiday season has always been retained.

In the York cathedral the minister placed the branch on the High Altar and proclaimed “public and universal liberty, pardon and freedom of all sorts of inferior and wicked people at the minster gates, and the gates of the city, towards the four quarters of heaven.” "

Christmas...dreams, dreams....

New look, Father's day and old books

I have been tempted for awhile to change a bit the design of my blog, I like changes (let me rephrase that, I thrive on it) yet nothing looked right. I think however this "new look" is just the thing!

I like the looks of old books. I like the feel of books, especially the smell of new books, that wonderful smell when you open the first page and discover yet another story.

But what I love the most is wandering around an old shoppe and finding an old favourite amongst the shelves. A tad faded with age, the pages perhaps perhaps even musty... I have a list I carry everywhere with me in a little book and I look for titles to add to our ever growing library!

For Father's day, my husband received a Dad's Bible to add to his selection of many, many Bibles. The happy look on his face tells me our daughter chose well. Each precious tomes is read and compared and studied carefully. Some become favourites, some are used for references only but each have their special place...

Books especially allows us to escape, to dream and imagine what could have been once upon a time...

18 June 2010

Meet Chimaira, MacIntosh new friend

Sometime in early spring we decided to add a new member to our little island house: meet Chimaira! A long haired American cat with a beautiful tail, Maira for short, is just perfect for our quiet household.

Since we have been first in England, then to our mountain cabin we thought it better to wait awhile to introduce her to our house so Maira will be joining us sometime later this week. MacIntosh knows her as he has been visiting her and we hope everyone will get along well. A tree house has been ordered, litter box acquired and of course the usual litter, food and assorted paraphenelia to make the transition easier.

Maira will become a regular visitor on this blog as we hope to take lots of photos! As for MacIntosh, he does not care how often he has to pose... Just dreaming Folks!

17 June 2010

Cotton yarn, MacIntosh and the Knit Box

The weather still feels like Autumn here and it does not appear to change any time soon. Walking MacIntosh requires planning around the "occasional showers" and the "sun breaks". Show him his (yellow) raincoat and our Corgi changes into a turtle!

At the same time we feel like yoyos opening and closing windows! Our Pacific Northwest weather is very conducive to mildew!

It seems a good time to catch up on reading, something we love to do in this house - no one would know when they see all the bookshelves, ah rum - and of course in my case, knitting!

I love knitting especially for babies, who doesn't? And knitting for Heavenly Angels in Need (http://heavenlyangelsinneed.com), I have the perfect excuse! When I ordered my selection of yarns from the Knit Box I never imagined it would arrive all the way from Turkey! (Stamp collectors: wait until you see those beautiful stamps!)

The knit box (http://www.theknitbox.com) is the creation of a lovely lady named Figi and she offers a wonderful selection of Turkish cotton!
On her website she explains her company's mission and she offers yarn, accessories, patterns and kits. The best part is she will ship anywhere in the world for one same price!

(photo above from The Knit Box)

"KB Yarn is produced locally by the Sayan family - nine brothers who uprooted themselves from mystical Mardin to find a living in the bigger city of Izmit (neighbouring Golcuk, it was also hit directly by the earthquake). Each working with yarn and textiles in their own different ways yet with a passion and deep-rooted knowledge for fiber handed down through generations. KB yarn is produced exclusively by the Sayans using the best Turkish cottons. Fair trade and labour applies to all products."

I was amazed to see their beautiful Ebru needles, Harem stitch markers and Nika ceramic buttons. Do I have enough birthday money to place my next order... O dreams...

13 June 2010

Precious moments, fawn and mountain times

One of the nicest thing about having a caretaker is that you do not have to worry about leaving your home for any length of time. The bonus: he/she happens to witness something you really would have hate to miss and they share the results!

Mum and fawn shortly after birth right in the backyard! Absolutely precious times! I think the photos says it all!




Our little mountain cabin survived the winter!
We opened the shutters and windows to gave it a quick check to make sure everything is alright and then we lit up the wood cooking stove. It is always cool in the mountains at night of course and we were glad to just sit and enjoy the heat while sipping a good cuppa tea.


You will agree the view is fantastic! As for those bluebirds I mentioned a while back, I counted 7 of them in less than 20 minutes. We are truly blessed!

06 June 2010

The Fruitful Life by Jerry Bridges, book review

"Healthy human life is a fruitful life." So begins the preface of this book. Each chapter takes us through the fruits of the Spirit beginning with taking on God's character and pursuing our devotion to God.

In this book, Jerry Bridges describes each fruit of the Spirit - Humility, Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness and Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and finally Self control. Guiding us with references to the books of the Bible, the author identifies each fruit as well as the many ways we can use these to strengthen our daily spiritual life.

Well written and easy to use "The Fruitful Life" including its exercises for practice and discussion will help the reader or group to develop his/hers daily devotions. Either read chapter by chapter or read in its entirety, this book will help you to cultivate the beautiful fruit given by the Holy Spirit.

This is indeed a Spirit filled book and I give it 4 1/2 stars. You will too!

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.”

D Day, faraway beaches and blessings

This being the 6th of June - D Day let's remember those many soldiers who gave their lives for our freedom on those faraway beaches of Normandy!

I remember as a little girl traveling with my Dad along this 50 mile stretch on the Normandy coast and visiting the many landing points of that long ago memorable break trough. He carefully checked local maps and made a point to see each of these locations.

My uncle had been part of the offensive and being just a teenager then, my father wanted to honour his memory and so many others. We visited countless cemeteries, not forgetting Henri Chappelle where 7989 military Americans dead are interned. In each visitor's book, he left a personal message...

Always remembered, never forgotten...

And if you happen to meet a Veteran today, please remember to say thank you for your freedom as so many can no longer accept your gratitude.

As the sun is setting, let's remember to count our blessings! Today is a special day!

05 June 2010

Blue birds, Highlands and relaxation

A whole week to relax up in the mountains, here we go!

One of the many things I fell in love going to our cabin were the blue birds we spotted on our way up the mountains. I had never seen so many blue birds in my life! Ranchers encourage nesting by placing blue bird nest boxes along the road (sometime I think just for my benefit - I count them as we travel along the one and only road up the canyon).

Native Americans believe the Blue Bird to be a great spirit in the shape of an animal and associate it with the Sun rising.

It is said that Navajos sings the Blue Bird song to remind tribal members to wake up at dawn and rise to greet the Sun:

Bluebird said to me,

"Get up, my grandchild.

It is dawn," it said to me.

The Blue Bird, a most revered song, is still used in social settings and in events such as the nine day winter Nightway ceremony closing act, performed just before the sun rise on the final day.

There is such a wealth of history and folklore in this country to be discovered!

And since it has finally stopped raining we have a chance to load our car without dodging the downpour! Highlands, here we come!

And for an extra tidbit of excitement, we were notified a rather large cougar was seen in the vicinity of our property and warned to be on the lookout...

Guess who is taking her knitting and will stay quietly on the porch... Not taking any chance!

04 June 2010

Dunkirk, Dover Castle and the miracle of the little ships

This being the fourth of June - at least according to the calendar as it feels much more like Autumn - we remember Dunkirk and the evacuation of its beaches 70 years ago.
I noticed more than one vessel in Ramsgate's harbour bearing the little sign it was part of that long ago memorable rescue and I am sorry we were no longer there for the eventual celebration!

WW2 veterans set sail from Dover on the 27th of May 2010 to cross the English Channel to Dunkirk for a commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the evacuation.

The former troops and their families were given a rousing send-off, with a performance from the Parachute Regimental Band and a chorus of Jerusalem (my favourite) from a Royal Choral Society choir. A Spitfire and a Hurricane aircraft performed a military fly-past above the ferry as it made its way to northern France.

A flotilla of “little ships” involved in the evacuation set sail from Ramsgate in Kent to join Norfolk Line’s Maersk Dover on the French coast. Many private fishing or pleasure boats, were drafted in to help evacuate the troops from the beaches of Northern France in 1940.

Operation Dynamo was the codename for the Dunkirk evacuation of British, French and Belgian troops between the 27th of May to the 4th of June 1940. Thousands of soldiers were rescued by the famous "little ships of Dunkirk", including 700 merchant marine boats, fishing boats, pleasure craft and lifeboats, the smallest of which was 15-foot fishing boat now displayed in the Imperial War Museum.

Operation Dynamo was named for the dynamo room in the Naval HQ below Dover Castle which in fact contained the dynamo that provided the building with electricity during WW2.

I visited the Naval HQ below the Castle two years ago and it was a visit I will never forget. I would not have wanted to miss it! There is so much history betwixst these walls you feel it as you wander through the corridors!

Always remembered, never forgotten...

02 June 2010

Rainy days, gold finch spotting and the meaning of flowers

Rain, rain, when will you stop?... We do see a sun break from time to time but how we would love to see some dry weather! Just enough to pull a few weeds, slow down the slug damage and enjoy our garden!

Our Corgi MacIntosh hates the rain and he looks so depressed when once again, we must pull his raincoat for his walk! No chance for doggie exploration either when it is so wet! Or for Frisbee catching... How sad!

Whilst sharing a cup of tea with a dear friend, we noticed (during a quick sun break) a small yellow bird which we believe to be an American Gold Finch. Lovely colours! Perhaps it is his nest we found in the clematis!

Since knitting is a perfect way to keep busy on such days, I found yet another site for "serious" knitter:
Amazing yarn! This site is perhaps not so much for the occasional knitter though but certainly worth a visit (or two... just to dream!)

I love to see a small posy on our table be it just a small bloom nested in some greenery and I have always wonder about the meaning of flowers.

It is said that tussie-mussies during Victorian times were a way to communicate special feelings. Mostly forgotten in our busy times I daresay, but red roses still imply passionate, romantic love and pink roses a lesser affection; white roses suggest virtue and chastity and yellow roses still stand for friendship or devotion, while sunflowers indicate either haughtiness or respect.
Pansies signifies thoughtfulness, daffodils regards and ivy means fidelity.
Daisies means innocence or purity. Named for the messenger of the gods in Greek mythology, Irises still represents the sending of a message.

I also learned that although very few species are mentioned in the Bible, flowers abounded in Palestine, Israel and Western Syria. It has been documented that two thousand to two thousand five hundred plants are found in the region of which about five hundred probably are similar to British wild-flowers!
There has to be a message there...