26 July 2010

Poppies, lavender and the Bible


Poppies and lavender together in a tablecloth, even available in oilcloth! I am dreaming...

I just attended my very first wreath making class at the Blue Willow Lavender Farm (http://www.bluewillowlavenderfarm.com/) and I have lavender on my mind! There is nothing like the scent of this wonderful herb and since I love poppies above all other flower (well maybe with Sunflowers, Lily of the Valley, Peonies,...You know...

I think the combination is perfect for our dining room table! I actually have a smaller tablecloth with poppies as you can see but the oilcloth would be so practical...Yes, I dream again...

As a little girl, I always asked why this, why that... I realized whilst visiting the Blue Willow Farm I know very little of my favourite herb.

With a bit more research I found out it is mentioned in the Bible, not as Lavender but as "Spikenard". In the Gospel of Luke it is written: "Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment."

Another ancient reference to lavender involves how it got its scent. The herb is believed to have been taken from the Garden of Eden by Adam and Eve. However, the powerful perfume came later. According to legend, the clothing of baby Jesus bestowed the scent when Mother Mary laid them upon a bush to dry.

This may explain why the plant is also regarded as a holy safeguard against evil. In many Christian houses, a cross of lavender was hung over the door for protection.

Now I know just a little more about Lavender!

As to the poppy, Homer in the ILIAD mentions the flower: "And as a poppy which in the garden is weighed down by fruit and vernal showers, droops its head on one side ".

In the Bible, the Apostle Peter writes:"All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall. . . ". This fleeting bloom is believed to be the common poppy.

Spring in the Holy Land comes early. By February, the hills above the Jordan Valley are filled with wildflowers. The hills above the Jordan Valley have one of the most diverse floras per unit area on our planet. One of the plants that stands out here is the poppy with its red flowers.

You can see lots of poppies along the road from Jerash to Angana growing amongst the olive trees, the crimson color of the flowers complementing the dark green leaves of the olive. And here I go again, dreaming...Jerusalem, perhaps one day...

In the meantime my family and I will be spending a few days of relaxation reading and dreaming... Until the next time!

25 July 2010

Flight to Heaven by Captain Dale Black

Do you ever wonder what it will be like in Heaven? Where eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, no man has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.

In this remarkable true story of a very courageous and wonderful pilot, Captain Dale Black gives us a brief glimpse of Heaven as we see written in 1 Corinthians, 2.9.

A plane crash, an impossible recovery and a miraculous journey to Heaven, a place we just dream about - and back, leads Dale Black into a lifetime of ministry all over the world.

This is a story of survival and extraordinary courage and I just could not put it down. This book is truly one of the most inspiring stories I have ever read!

I give it 5 full stars!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group 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.”

22 July 2010

Galatians, a New Kind of Freedom Defended by Jeff Gavins

My family and I were recently given the opportunity to review this new study guide in the Catholic Scripture study series.

We decided almost from page one that it was going to be a wonderful ongoing study tool!
Besides a great introduction, it presents a unique study outline for each chapter, references to compare with other books of the Bible as well as questions on the text for reflection, opportunities for additional studies and a great summary.

This book is interesting, informative and inspiring. In fact, this series should have its place in every family library and I give a 4 1/2 stars!



This review was written as part of the Catholic books reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Galatians - A New Kind of Freedom Defended.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Catholic Company. 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.”

One Verse Evangelism, a simple way to share the Gospel

If like most of us you struggle at times with Evangelism or have tried to witness to a friend, a family member or even a stranger you will find this little book an amazing tool!

We all want to share the good news yet we often hesitate or we become afraid because we just don't know how. Both for beginners or seasoned Christians this 27 step book written by Randy Raysbrook and Steve Walker will take only a few minutes to read yet it will teach you to share the Gospel like no others!

Using one verse Evangelism or Romans 6:23 it will teach you to be true to your faith and yourselves and is well worth a moment of your time! I give it 5 full 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.

19 July 2010

Knitting, the Knit Box and fabulous yarns

I am always on the lookout for new yarns for little ones. Reading the advices given by Mary Glynn, the founder of Heavenly Angels in Need, http://heavenlyangelsinneed.com/, I like to knit in yarns Angels may wear as much as my pocket book can afford. Thus my quest for the best...

Sadly and much too often these little Angels are sick and in ICU or leaving us and the best seems not enough!

I had the chance recently to acquire some wonderful yarns from the Knit Box, http://www.theknitbox.com and I think Mary would approve: 100% Turkish cotton tape and so soft! (see results in progress above)

Their Cotton Tweed (below in Golden Syrup) has a silky coloured thread throughout the yarn, with lovely results and I just noticed their Sifa yarn.

"Sifa is 100% natural cotton which has been ionized with 5% real silver, said to have healing properties for many ailments, to help you knit garments which are healthy as well as beautiful. Natural and undyed. Cool in the summer, warm in the winter".

Living on a tiny island on the Pacific Coast I rely on the internet to not only keep in touch with everyone but also to purchase most of our supplies which includes yarn (I am so lucky!) thus I had the perfect excuse to indulge and order the Knit Box's beautiful EBRU needles and some Sifa yarn...

Back to knitting: I just heard of two more hospitals in Scotland in need of Angels clothing! Not all dreams but so nice to be needed...

Note: 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.”

17 July 2010

Blue Willow Farm, Lavender and more lavender

With its beautiful purple flowers and soothing scent, Lavender plants have given a delightful, cottage-garden look in landscapes since Medieval time thus earning a place in many herb gardeners heart.

Only yesterday I was given the opportunity to tour Blue Willow Farm, more than 2500 lavender plants in fact, set in a beautiful serene setting!

What strikes you first when you meet Bill and Tracy, the owners of Blue Willow Farm along with Binks the cat, is their friendliness. You have immediately a sense of coming home and that is just what they hope for.

Bill will give you a tour of the many fields, explaining the wide variety of plants and their uses. With over 400 known plants and counting around the world, he hopes to add to the large selection he already has successfully grown on the Peninsula.

Tracy has a wonderful shoppe offering many of their products on the premises such as sachets, sleep pillows, dryer bags, eye pillows, pin cushions, teas and cookies, and of course both fresh and dried bouquets.

Classes are also offered and a festival for the 8th and 9th of July 2011 is in the planning.

Their online website offers recipes, products, planting guide and much more.

Have a question? Ask Bill, Tracy or even Binks! One of them is sure to answer as soon as possible.

And if you are lucky enough to be able to visit, grab a picnic basket, leave all your worries behind and go visit them. God's blessings are surely to be felt there!

Note: I was not remunerated for this post but just wanted to share my opinion!

15 July 2010

The Radical Question, another book review

Jesus said: "Sell all that you have, give it to the poor and follow me". In this book "The Radical Question: what is Jesus worth to you" the author compares Jesus' teachings with our comfortable lifestyle, all part of the American dream.

Doctor David Platt, Pastor of The Church at Brook Hills, a four-thousand-member congregation in Birmingham, Alabama goes on to say most of us sit in air conditioned church buildings, tithing, doing charity work and believing ourselves to be Christians.

He challenges us to really look at ourselves and see the World as it really is, where our brothers and sisters experience hunger and poverty, diseases and exploitation along with persecution because of their faith.

In asking us to decide if Jesus created us for a greater purpose, we are reminded we have the choice to follow in Jesus' footsteps, wherever, however and whenever he ask us.

This book will ask you to trust Jesus is worthy of radical devotion, to stop living as though we need more possessions and greater pleasures. Let us believe that we can make a difference and start living as if this World has nothing for us because Christ is truly everything to us! It is our turn to carry his cross...

This is not a large book by any means, but it is packed with truths and I guarantee it will challenge the comfortable way you live. To sacrifice everything and follow HIM...Truly compelling and not for everyone!

I give this book 4 Stars!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. 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.”

14 July 2010

The Disappearing Spoon, another Book Review

Every one likes to read a good story. However when you combine a well written book, filled with historical anecdotes, biology, astronomy, geography, well known names and scientific facts you never knew (at least I did not) or you simply have forgotten, you get a “cannot put it down” book!

I guarantee this one can be understood by anyone and I only studied the merest of chemistry. The periodic table is still a mystery to me but I also know I would have responded better to the subject if someone such as Sam Kean had given the matter such an interesting approach. The periodic table is the most important chemistry reference there is. It arranges all the elements.

From tracing the origin of chemical warfare to Greece to Gandhi 240-mile march from Ahmedabad to the coastal town of Dandi to protest the salt tax charged the Indian people by the British Empire. Did you know the largest elephant weighted approximately 24,000 pounds, thirteen feet at the shoulders? How about cold fusion produced at room temperature?

As for radon, a colorless and odorless heavy element, "it displaces air, sinks into the lungs and discharges lethal radioactive particles leading inevitably to lung cancer"... You will find out how he believes a supernova sowed our solar system and how elements deceive and baffle us when they encounter the chaos of biology!

Informative and definitively interesting, "The Disappearing Spoon and Other True Tales of madness, love and the history of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements" by Sam Kean is an amazing book you will not want to put down. This book has fascinating tales and all the elements of an historical novel filled with passion, adventure, betrayal and obsession of the scientists!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Hachette Book Group 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.”

13 July 2010

Lavender fields, lavender sachets and more

Lavender fields are beautiful at this time of the year and I love lavender. It reminds me a lot of my childhood as growing up it seems wherever Granny was, we could smell lavender . To date it remains part of my souvenirs of her and all the years she spent raising us. Bless her!

When I was little of course I did not know how soothing this little blue flower was.
Having learned something of aromatherapy, I now like to tuck lavender sachets everywhere and each year I replaced my supply jar (yes, I buy it by the pound!)

I just found out there is in fact a lavender farm on our Peninsula:

It is the perfect time to visit as lavender blooms everywhere in July. I have never seen the Blue Willow but something tells me I am going to feel just at home there!
The owners advertise even an alternative to dryer sheets: lavender dryer bags which can be used 5 to 7 times. I just know I would like some!

If like me you love linen and accessories, check out the site below. This store offers a variety of items (guaranteed to have you dreaming...) but I just typed lavender sachets in the search box and found enough to satisfy even the most discriminating buyer.
The above set of sachets would be perfect in any bedroom (mine of course...)

Note: I share my opinion but I was not remunerated for any of it! Just dreaming...

11 July 2010

Daisies, Roses and Friends

One of the best things in life is surely Friends! Today was a good day after all!
An island friend surprised me with enough fresh flowers to fill every room in the house. I needed a boast and surely, God works in mysterious ways!
Thank you!!!!

The little daisies I just found out are called Marguerites, a very special name to me...
Always remembered, never forgotten...

When you feel sad and betrayed
Who can you count on every single day?
When you feel lost and alone
Who will be there for you in every way?

When you've made mistakes and bad decisions
Who can you count on to tell you you're wrong?
When you feel you can't go on
Who will be there with a feel-better song?

Look into your heart and you will find
That person you can trust is not far away.
Look deep into yourself, don't give up,
For if you do, it's yourself you'll betray.

When you're looking for answers
To all your questions and dreams,
There is one person you can count on,
It's impossible, I know, it seems.

But take a few moments to look deeper inside.
Look into your heart and there you will see.
You'll be surprised when you find out
That you've been looking at ME.

Trust, butterflies and feelings

My titles usually holds key words, an inkling of what the reader can expect to find.
So here are today's thoughts:

Number 1 Trust:
"Trust is defined as "reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence."
You can emotionally love someone, but not trust them. You can trust them, but not emotionally love them. When you trust a person, you believe that they have your best interest at heart. They wouldn't do something to hurt you for the fun of it, or for selfish gain. You rely on them.
You earn a person's trust by consistently proving yourself to them. You show them that you will not use them or take advantage of them. You will not abuse their love or their generosity. You will think of them before acting."

Well, I could not have put in better words. I always seem to feel what I cannot always express.

Number 2 Butterflies:
Perhaps due to the cold weather we have experienced on our little island, I noticed we do not have so many butterflies this year. The largest one I saw actually fluttered around MacIntosh's head during our walk. I just wished I had a camera at the time. Our Corgi seemed to be a tad bewildered!

Number 3 Blue colour for feelings:
Today is Sunday, a blessed day but also a blue day and I am in need of a good cuppa (tea)! Sigh...
Time to knit!
I found a very nice pattern for a tiny person and decided I would try knitting it. Another knitter called it the Bluebell cardigan... perfect for such a dreamer like me...


09 July 2010

Art, Bears and butterflies

"The Bathers"

If you find yourself checking out the latest galleries for some new and unique object of art, be it a painting, a vase or perhaps a new piece of jewelry you might even ask yourself at times "what is it?"

There is some wonderful talented artists in the world but this does not mean we all see with the same eyes! I am especially drawn to the whimsical and since I can hardly afford to own unique, one of a kind items, I simply browse and enjoy what I see.

Lahaina Galleries are located in Lahaina, Hawai and I am told they have 2 more galleries located in Kohala Coast and Wailea, both in Hawai -not around the corner for me to check them out- one in California and another in Bend, Oregon, a tad closer at least, but since they all featured Robert Bissell's art, I just had to check out their website: http://www.lahainagalleries.com

Somerset born artist Robert Bissell's featured paintings at first glance seem to come straight out of a children’s book. And I love children books!
At closer examination however his paintings reflects upon the environment and using animals that like to stand on two feet, a common ground is established.

Whimsical yet powerful, Bissell’s pieces illustrate a consciousness of the world around us.
"Bissell’s artistic aspiration is that his paintings appeal to the intellectual child in all of us and create a narrative that represents qualities such as compassion, fear, vitality or curiosity."

This one titled "Embrace IT" just won my heart. All those purple butterflies and this whimsical bear...

And this one called "Ursa Minor" just appeals to my dreamy side...

Note: The above statements reflects only my opinion. I was not remunerated in any way but just love the paintings.

05 July 2010

Comtesse de Segur, Victor Hugo and other memorable books

"Ermitage Rock in an imaginary landscape"

Books and more books. I have always liked children books for their wonderful sketches. Perhaps this is why I love ink and charcoal drawings the most.

Remembering all the wonderful books I was allowed to read (yes, there was such a thing as parental guidance then too...whoever thought this was something new?...) I thought I checked to see if there were copies available. Sadly I confess I do not remember what happened to my books!

When I was a little girl, my favourites were written by the Comtesse de Segur such as "Les malheurs de Sophie", "General Dourakine", "Les memoires d'un Ane", "Le mauvais Genie" and of course "Le petit Diable" etc...

These were good stories, full of mischief and adventures I could immerse myself into and I loved reading these. I imagine myself a character in such or such story and I loved to dream of course about what "if".

Later on as a teenager, the works of Jules Verne fascinated me. "Around the World in Eighty Days", "Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea"...
Anyone who read "Paris in the 20th Century" or "From the Earth to the Moon" will remember the mention of similar devices to today's air conditioning, electricity, automobiles, helicopters, submarines, movie projectors, jukeboxes, even rockets!
Oh the dreams!

Victor Hugo however appealed to me not only with "Les Miserables" (last I remember I was right there with the students on the barricades...), "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and "Hans of Iceland" but with his wonderful drawings (he is said to have done about 4000 of them, using pen and ink wash mostly - each an adventure in itself).

"Gavroche" from Les Miserables

This was the stuff my dreams were made of!

02 July 2010

Maira, MacIntosh and summer heat

I truly looked forward to Summer but did we really wanted the heat to come all in once? Being perfectly human I feel I should say I like it better when it is not so hot... Anything below 70 degrees Fahrenheit is just fine with me! Sigh....

Maira is adjusting well and we love having her. She has a perky personality and as long as we do not see a tail hanging out of MacIntosh's mouth, everything should be smooth going from here. No joke, it must be her plume (tail) as our daughter calls it, that just seems to draw him out and into lots of mischief's!

One thing for sure, what matters the most to our Corgi about this new setup: until Maira masters the art of throwing a ball, MacIntosh won't be completely happy.

One Corgi, one kitty, 2 humans... A family!

01 July 2010

Fourth of July, fireworks and barbecue

The Fourth of July is definitively a day like no other and each year I am shown yet again new aspects of celebrating the independence of this beautiful country.

I like the parades, the picnics, the family reunions and the music! It is like no other celebration, it gives you a feeling you belong. The Fourth of July reminds you to be thankful you are an American, you live free and strong.

Like many families we share this special occasion with true friends and enjoy the bounty of this land. Even on our tiny island, there are fireworks, parties and lots of laughs. It is after all, a good day to be alive. We are very blessed indeed!

I love history and I enjoy reading the stories about the birth of this land as a free country. My favourite is the Boston Tea party (16th of December 1773) when Boston merchants refused to accept a shipment of tea in protest against tea taxes retained by the British. Dressed as Mohawks, several well known Colonials boarded British East India Company vessels and dumped 300 chests of tea into Boston Harbor.

And let us remember that most important declaration of Independence (4th of July 1776):

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. "