31 March 2011

Lazarus Awakening, Finding Your Place in the Heart of God

In Lazarus Awakening Joanna writes about getting God’s love from our heads to our hearts. We all know Jesus loved Mary – look how she worshiped. And we can understand why He loved Martha – after all, look how she served. But what about those of us who don’t know where we fit in the heart of God? Lazarus Awakening explores the tale of the third follower – Mary and Martha’s brother, Lazarus. We never hear him speak, we never see him serve. The only thing of any significance that Lazarus did was to die. And yet, the Bible is clear. Jesus loved Lazarus. And He loves you and me as well. Lazarus Awakening looks at different aspects of the story we find in John 11. We learn what it means to be a friend of God and begin recognizing the tombs we spend far too much time in. Find out more here.

My thoughts/review on this book:

I haven't had the opportunity to read
Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World yet, another well known best seller from Joanna Weaver, but like many, I have heard a lot about it. The message is always the same: You must read this! Until now, I have added it to my list of must...number so and so... After reading Lazarus Awakening, it has reached (very nearly) the top of my list. This will be definitively a must read!
In Lazarus Awakening, I found myself discovering a honest look at the way we define ourselves as Christians. To be sure Joanna Weaver not only gives us much to think about how we project our faith to others as well as ourselves but she shares with readers the result of many years of pondering on Christ's love. I particularly like to think of her helping us to die daily so that Christ might live in us forever.

Through her book she extends a helping hand as a true friend, someone who will listen and see us as we truly are. It is sometime very hard to believe in ourselves, let alone believe God cares for us individually.

This is not a book you will just read and shelve. With illustrations and biblical references Joanna Weaver's clear study guide and resources for resurrected living will allow you to understand what it means to be loved by God.
With honesty and love, we can learn to shed our grave-clothes, and find our way to love ourselves as well as others.
Christ wants us to live fully, without fear, regret and self condemnation.

I give it a 4 stars!
Meet Joanna Weaver!

Joanna Weaver is known the world over for her transparent and life-changing books, Having A Mary Heart in a Martha World and Having a Mary Spirit. These two books have sold over a million copies and have been translated into several languages including Spanish, French, Dutch, Chinese, German, Korean and more. Joanna has appeared on a wide variety of nationally syndicated radio and television broadcasts. Past appearances include: The Harvest Show, At Home Live With Chuck & Jenni, Midday Connection, HomeWord, and Janet Parschall’s America . She is also a highly sought after speaker and shares her message at intimate gatherings and several high profile events each year. But Joanna's greatest joy is found in being a wife and mother and her role as a pastor’s wife. For more information about Joanna, please visit her website. http://www.joannaweaverbooks.com/.

Joanna is celebrating the release of Lazarus Awakening with the Heart of God KINDLE Giveaway!
One grand prize winner will receive: * A Brand New KINDLE with Wi-Fi * Having A Mary Heart in a Martha World * Having A Mary Spirit * Lazarus Awakening Joanna will also select two additional contest entrants to receive copies of her trilogy. Enter soon by clicking the icons below and then tell your friends. Hurry the contest ends April 16th. The winner will be announced on Joanna's blog on April 18th.
Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter
To buy this book:
You might like to check also the rest of this blog tour schedule

I received this book free from
Litfuse as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not asked to write a positive review and the opinions expressed are entirely my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

30 March 2011

Civil War, Women and Legacy

This year will see the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. History tells us that on the 4th of March 1861, seven states declared their secession and joined together to form the Confederate States of America.
Hostilities started on the 12th of April when Confederate forces attacked a Union military installation at Fort Sumter, NC.
Thus began a war betwixt families, friends and neighbours which lasted 4 years and with heavy cost on both sides.

" The approximately 10,455 military engagements, some devastating to human life and some nearly bloodless, plus naval clashes, accidents, suicides, sicknesses, murders, and executions resulted in total casualties of 1,094,453 during the Civil War. The Federals lost 110,100 killed in action and mortally wounded, and another 224,580 to disease. The Confederates lost approximately 94,000 as a result of battle and another 164,000 to disease. Even if one survived a wound, any projectile that hit bone in either an arm or a leg almost invariably necessitated amputation. The best estimate of Federal army personnel wounded is 275,175; naval personnel wounded, 2,226. Surviving Confederate records indicate 194,026 wounded."

I am constantly amazed at the rich histories countries on both sides of the pond have. You cannot but be awed at the pride, determination, convictions people of all nations have in a time of war.
No matter the flag raised or the ideals, ultimately each nation will find itself standing together, with right or wrong on their side when challenged, their common belief, God is with them.
Little do we remember in time of conflicts God does not take side...

I have found that the Civil War is remembered by both sides vividly and due to its wealth in documentation, is felt deeply still after 150 years by many families in the US. Reenactors all over the country are ready to demonstrate what this war above all war was about, their aim to make sure it is accurately remembered.

It matters little if Great Grand Pa was fighting for the North or the Confederates but what truly matters is that he is remembered and thus honoured. A soldier giving his life for what he believes in, his country, his ideals, to be remembered thus and never forgotten.
God was always near...

My first encounter with Civil War history was in the Shenandoah valley and I quickly realized how little I knew of a conflict which divided this beautiful country.
I have since read of the battle at Gettysburg and learned of other names such as Chickamauga, Shiloh, Vicksburg, Chattanooga...I learned the names of Longstreet, Meade, Hancock, Chamberlain, Pickett, Buford, Lee, Grant and so many others who fought bravely for what they believed in.

Since then I also learned of the role many women on both sides played. Theirs, a challenge we cannot begin to comprehend but should never forget. Their homes, their families, their lives and yes, their beliefs were at stakes.
God was never far...

(Rose O'Neal Greenhow - seen here with her daughter - after her capture)

Both the Federals and the Confederates actively recruited women for undercover operations as their familiarity with particular regions made them invaluable assets. Elaborate networks were established and managed on both sides, with women serving at all levels, including as scouts, encryption specialists, agent handlers and spies.
Their names are also not to be forgotten: Rose O'Neal Greenhow, Antonia Ford Willard, Elizabeth Van Lew, Mary Elizabeth Bowser, Emeline Pigott, Sarah Emma Edmonds to name a few...
God was never far...

A Christian Confederate Soldier's Prayer

(Anon - alleged to have been found on a CSA casualty at the Devil's Den, Gettysburg)

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.

I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked for health, that I might do greater things.

I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

I asked for riches, that I might be happy.

I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.

I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.

I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for but got everything I had hoped for.

Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.

I am, among all people, most richly blessed.

27 March 2011

Home, Treasures and Society

By Wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

Today being Sunday, a Holy Day, I thought to share some thoughts on the Greatest Story ever told amongst others.
Reading and reviewing books have enabled me to peruse some incredible stories, wonderful anecdotes and judging from the numbers of tomes on our library shelves, read many authors!

It is rare the book I do not enjoy albeit I will be honest and say there has been a few duds.
Some of these I trudged through up to the last page and decided it was not such a bad story after all. Rarely have I not given a chance to the author to convince me there was something of substance betwixt the pages of their latest novel or biography. Yet again I stir away from fanatics, autobiographies and politics. The first I cannot abide, the other two I will abstain reading. They simply do not interest me.

Long, long ago, I was told a good story, be it a book or mere article should line up in the following order: Who, What, Where, When, How, Why...
I will be the first to say it is not always so or even possible. Ordinary daily news often proves this but still, it is not a bad format. In fact, I like to use it to recall a good story, particularly if I am sharing it.This way, I can visualize what developed and allow myself an opinion.

I refuse to trash so to speak any written word. If colourful to the point of offending me or possibly anyone else, I will simply not read it. I have on occasion closed a book for that reason and to my family's surprise, even from a favourite author.
It seems these days every thought, be it sanctioned or not, is printed with the sole intention of making money of course and often entertain in some perverse way the masses.
We commiserate on what kind of society we live into yet we are not always willing to take a stand and refuse to conform.
Simply we often lean into fitting in society rather than letting ourselves be individuals, with moral standards, honour and integrity.

Busy times, hectic schedules and economic demands are perhaps at fault in many cases but we can still take a stand, and demand individuality with a conscience.

One of my favourite stories, North and South, first published in 1855 and written by Elisabeth Gaskell shows clearly that no matter which part of society you belong to, you can make a difference if you take a stand in what you believe in. Be that we would all be willing to take a chance!
Elisabeth Gaskell, British Author

I must at this point also admit having read only parts of the Bible, such was my upbringing. It was "just not done" as they would have said in the times of Mrs. Gaskell for a young lady to read what was deemed too difficult...

One day however I realized I had questions no one would or could answer...It was then I first opened the Bible only to admit that yes, indeed it is not an easy book to comprehend. I was also not willing to let anyone tell me their opinions of such or other parts of the Bible.

Thus after many years I can only say I strongly believe the Bible to be the most beautiful story ever told, an instrument to guide believers and even non believers, to be used as intended and not for fire and brimstone and I am still struggling to read it.
There are different versions of the bible in our family as we do not all belong to the same Church yet we are of the same Faith.
It is a comfort to know we have taken a stand and show ourselves to be followers of Christ.

Finally I will share with you the Bible I hope to acquire someday. For some of us it has particular meaning being the bible used by Pilgrims in Jamestown. Printed originally in 1560, it reflects a remarkable history and would truly be a Treasure amongst others more modern versions.
Perhaps one day...

"The Geneva Bible was the Bible of the Puritans and the Pilgrims, who fled to the religious freedom of the New World in the early 17th century. The first edition of the Geneva Bible was published in 1560 in Geneva, Switzerland, after many of the English reformationists fled there because public reading of the Bible had been prohibited in England. Although never officially adopted in England, for three generations the Geneva Bible was the most popular of all English versions, 140 editions being published between 1560 and 1640. This version was read by Shakespeare and Bunyan and was of cardinal importance for its influence on the English language, literature, and thought. "

22 March 2011

Catherine Cookson, A Favourite amongst Authors

Catherine and Tom Cookson

Not long ago I shared with readers my definition of treasures, amongst it memories of family storytelling.
One such remembrance came from an elderly lady as she was recalling her youth, young love and fancies.
Times were hard at the beginning of the 20th Century for her family. She told stories of how her mother then a midwife, would in time of need, just pull the bed sheets from under her young children. Women in their neighbourhood were sometime so poor they could not afford bedding on which to give birth.

She remembered being twelve years old and sleeping under the staircase in the great house she worked at, no other accommodation available for a scullery maid.
Tenacious of life and a hard worker, she eventually married a miner and gave a chance to her children to be all they could be. She had spunk, she loved to laugh and was fond of telling everyone she had strawberry blond hair!

She was for awhile dating a fine lad of the middle class and he insisted on walking her home one day. Not wishing to show him her family humble lodgings, she decided to keep on walking until eventually they arrived at a lovely brick house. She turned to her attentive beau and said: "Thank you, this is my home." And he, taking a quick look at the house, smiled and said "I don't think so...this is where I live!"

I still hear her laugh as she recounted the story and I promised myself there and then, this was how my children should remember their paternal Grand Mother...

Years later I was introduced to the writings of Catherine Cookson, an absolute gem of English literature and a wonderful source of local history.
Her books she said, were not of the romance genre but historical novels about people and conditions she knew.
My first book from Dame Cookson was The Fifteen Streets. I was given the book to read on the plane and it soon became a treasure in my library.
Out of her all of her books, nearly 100 of them, and with 123 millions copies sold, I would be hard pressed to choose a favourite!
I could name The Moth, The Wingless Bird, Maggie Rowan, The Dwelling Place, The Rag nymph as those I like best but albeit I now own 36 of her volumes, I still am looking forward to the others!

Such stories can never be forgotten...

Hastings Circa 1930.

21 March 2011

One Thousand Gifts, Book Review

One Thousand Gifts, a Dare to live fully right where you are, is a book I had heard of so many times I was indeed very curious to read it. At first I thought it to be a women book only but it is not so.
You should also not judge a book by its cover but I must say I felt an attraction to it immediately. I went through the different chapters, each beginning with a relevant quote and I found myself drawn to Ann Voskamps' writings.
Based on a friend's dare, that to record one thousand of God's gifts or blessings, this is a challenge that obviously changed the author's life in more ways than one.

With care and much grace, Ann Voskamp bares her soul, good times and bad ones allowing us to follow our own path towards a joyful Christian Life.

This is a tome every woman should have the opportunity to read, and one that you will keep next to you by the bedside. It is truly inspiring, yet simple in its concept but also provoking, rich in faith and love for God.

You cannot but be moved by its message and men or women will find it a treasure. Ann Voskamps' journey is one of discovery she shares humbly with all of us!
This is a book you will reach out for time and time again, the perfect gift for a loved one, young or old!

I give it 4 stars!

I received this book free from Zondervan Publishers as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not asked to write a positive review and the opinions expressed are entirely my own.

I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

20 March 2011

Coming Home! Today is a Good Day!

The best news a Soldier Angel will hear is He/She is coming home!!
Nothing can replace the feeling of knowing "Mission accomplished!" and I am happy to say this was a most welcome message!

Whilst I say goodbye to a long time friend and say hello to a new one, I hope to be there when mail call comes and he/she is waiting in line to hear from family and friends and keep in touch with home.

May No Soldier Go Unloved!

Being away from his/her loved ones is one of the many hardships any soldier serving his country endures. We owe them our freedom and their sacrifice should never be forgotten!
Today is Sunday, a Holy day, and whilst we take the time from our busy lives to pray, let's not forget to remember each and everyone of them as well as their families on the home front!

The following is a poem written by a US Navy Private:
Your letters

We look up to mails here like prisoners in for life
pretend all you can, each mail is like wind to our sail
an albatross in the sky when all hope is lost.
We gather round each recipient to celebrate his fortune
just to know; to connect with the other side.
We ask, do folks support us, what does the polls say
when are we going home, local gossip and football
until night comes and lights out.
We sleep and wait for tomorrow, for another mail call

Unlike to get a phone call
it means only one thing: red cross. come home. signed
You feel like Noah amongst fellow sailors against their sail
You go; teary eyed to bury those who could not wait
to see tomorrow with you
for the return of their messengers
We gather round the bereaved; pray and console him/her
holding hands and our breaths the while
until another phone call comes

To receive a package, untampered and timely is heaven
everyone sings to your name
as items inside are shared out hungrily
pictures, magazines, perfumed letters colored with kisses
turn our crumbling tents into mini carnivals
many wait in line to drink in such contra bands
We later share a smoke outside
silent underneath giant stars
each wishing his day to come.

Letters from home...

Pvt Steven, K.

Freedom has a price...

18 March 2011

Let's Not Forget Them!

We remember 9/11...
We will never forget Katrina...
We cannot forget them!

He is only 9 years old and looking for his family...My heart aches for him!

At least they are together!

Man's best friend is still the best comfort!

Together we can make a difference!
Be it through the Red Cross, a Church or preferred Organization, even Swagbucks...Please give!
Think for one moment, it could be you...

THE official number of dead and missing after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that flattened Japan's northeast coast a week ago has topped 16,600, with 6405 confirmed dead...

"They don't know when, or from where, their next meal is coming.
They don't know how long they will be sleeping on the floors of schools and gyms.
They don't know if they are far enough from the damaged Fukushima plant to be safe from harm.
There is no power, daytime temperatures are well below zero and illness is taking hold.
And all this while many of them are also dealing with the loss of loved ones."

Earthquake/Tsunami/Nuclear Disaster Japan 2011

No matter how much we hear or see the news, we cannot imagine for a moment how Japanese must feel at this moment! Let's make sure they know they are NOT ALONE!

14 March 2011

15 March 2011 Petfinder 15th Anniversary!

Please join MacIntosh and I on this important cause!

Help Petfinder Adopt the Internet!

In honor of their 15th Anniversary, Petfinder is asking people everywhere to pledge to spread the word online about adoptable pets today, March 15, 2011.

What You Can Do as well:
* Add a badge to your Web site to show your support.
* Take their pledge that you will tell one person about pet adoption. By pledging, you'll enter for a chance to win one of 10 Pet Hair Eraser® Vacuums from BISSELL.

* Donate your Facebook status and photo to an adoptable Petfinder pet. Simply replace your photo with one from the Adopt-the-Internet All-Stars gallery
* Share an adoptable Petfinder pet on Twitter.
* Add a link to your blog, Facebook or Twitter post to their page!

Petfinder Adopt-the-Internet Day

Thanks for caring! Woof, Woof!

Prayers for Japan and the Meaning of Tomodashi

Like the rest of the world, we watch the terrible aftermath of Japan's Earthquake and Tsunami destruction. There are no words to describe what has happened and we pray there are no more aftershocks!

Japan is a country who prides itself in being prepared for such an eventuality, but this is beyond anything that could be imagined. The devastation is beyond grasp!

This morning we received a long awaited email confirming friends and their family are safe despite their home being only at 0.12 miles high.
It is with relief and prayers of gratitude we quickly answered asking them to keep in touch and let us know what can be done if anything.

As news reports roll in, we learn more and more about the need for help from various sources.
One such message came from Soldiers' Angels and Operation Tenshi!

"10,000 Soldiers’ Angels Relief Packs designated for the USS Ronald Reagan, the aircraft carrier heading to Japan as part of the U.S. relief efforts following the recent tragic earthquake, have been shipped already!"

Take a moment to read and help if you can!

Today I learned two more words of Japanese: Tomodashi meaning friendship and Tenshi means Angel.

For one moment, let's remember to reach out and help! No one should feel alone in such circumstances!

Prayers and thoughts going their way...

12 March 2011

The Healing Code, Book Review

The Healing Code dust jacket states that it takes only 6 minutes for anyone to heal the source of health, success or relationship issue. Impressive!
I am quite sure that many people will probably jump right to the Healing Code section!

Following Alexander Loyd's suggestion however, I decided to start right at the beginning. And I will immediately state I am very glad I did!
It will give you a much better understanding of how exactly the code works. You will also uncover an amazing amount of information provided by the author, sort of a mini library of Quantum Physics, medical and historical facts.

Hard to put down and at times challenging - I asked myself more than once, is healing really this simple - this is well worth reading!
There is absolutely no doubt The Healing Code is the result of a well documented study which clearly shows amazing results!
And there are many people who truly believe these are the most important 6 minutes of their lives.
It is important of course to come with an open mind to this process and to be willing to work at it.
After all, what do you have to loose? Have a little faith...
Give yourself an opportunity to heal and read the book!

I give this one 4 1/2 stars!

Alexander Loyd, PhD., ND and his comments. Very interesting!

I received this book free from The Hachette Book Group Publishers as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not asked to write a positive review and the opinions expressed are entirely my own.

I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

11 March 2011

Singing in the Rain, Treasures and Dreaming

When it rains on the island you can not go far without an umbrella for certain! Obviously Maira decided to be on the safe side as you can see... Mac the Corgi on the other end is so disgruntled with the weather he hides whenever you produce his raincoat... This is the perfect day for some music in the background, a dusting cloth and some polishing...

Definition of Treasure: Valuable or precious possessions of any kind...

There are many reasons for keeping certain cherished items near you.
I have always believed that anything not used seasonally or at least once a year should be disposed of.
Both my children have chided me on more than one occasion on that score yet I am quite sure someday they will realize there is only so much you can do with material things and dust collectors are not necessary to one's happiness.

The one exception are Heirlooms! However trivial they seem to someone else eyes, these items are a part of us. They tell a unique story and therefore give us an identity. These mementos can never be replaced if only for the memories they carry and thus they become treasures.

For some it might be a piece of jewelry, a shawl, a bit of lace or a delicate china cup and saucer, a sampler, all passed on through generations of women.
For Mums all over the world, it is sure to include children drawings, a quick note or even a pressed flower...

A few photos, a carved pipe, a miner's lamp, an old compass, perhaps a medal or two, all treasured for the memories it carries...

My Treasures are divided in two categories!

The first includes the Mementos, not to be hidden away for another time as too often people do but proudly displayed, loved and yes, often used!
Some are very old, some are just collectibles and all speak of dreams and memories...
All can be stored in a suitcase...Perhaps the product of many moves...I would miss each one but they are just things and perhaps should not matter but they do...

The second are the
Stories told by countless family story tellers...
These I will always carry along, no matter how far we go...They make me whom I am today and I treasure them more than I would gold coins...

These I should write down one day...After all we each have a story to tell...

10 March 2011

Rainy Weather, Memories and Wonderful Galettes

Rain, rain go away! With SSW winds at 38 mph today...and so much rain...

This is still Winter of course but I long for better weather! There is just something about being able to open windows throughout our little island house and let fresh air in! So despite all the humidity, I turned off the heat in our bedroom this morning and opened the window for a blissful 2 hours! Heavenly!
Not being a warm weather person I prefer not to think of the hot summer season just yet but hung the laundry on the line and sitting on the porch would be lovely!

Each year for her Spring cleaning Granny would go through her entire third floor apartment. She would open and clean her windows - her final rinse include white vinegar to add sparkle - and she would finish with rubbing crumbled newspaper on all the panels.
To date her windows remain in my memory as the cleanest I ever saw!

Next came the removal of all sheer curtains to be soaked in warm soapy water, rinsed and hanged to dry on her veranda.
She would then pull all the rugs out and beating them through fully - yes, with an old fashion rug beater - and let them aerate in the sun.
Following this all rattan chairs and table would be scrubbed within an inch of their life with water, soap and rinsed with salted water - I am not sure about the latter but then you never questioned Granny - and left to dry in the warm sun.

Winter clothes and heavy linen would be stored away with lavender tucked here and there and sandals would materialize by the hall tree... We knew the good weather was there!

But the surest sign of Spring in her home always came through the post...A letter to confirm her deposit for either a bungalow or an apartment on the coast!
Born at the seaside she could never live long away from it! The salted air was as necessary to her as water to a fish.

My brother and I would holiday with her on the Coast near her hometown and be free of all the constrains of school rules and city living!
No matter the weather, we would walk through the dunes and reach the beach for long walks betwixt each brise lames, the wind in our hair and a light heart!
I recall walks that would make a GI cringe...
The weather mattered not and even if it rained, we would bundle up and just go. Sometimes it would be warm enough to wear a swimsuit but very often we would need to cover up with a thick sweater and rubber boots!

Ours was a world of discovery while we listened to tales of her mischievous childhood as we would inspect little puddles of water for crabs and seashells...The best time for beach combing of course was after a storm....We would be then on the lookout for treasures...

We never did find anything that could be truly called a treasure but we still had some wonderful times... We made sand castles whilst she rested near us after a particular long walk.
Somehow she always produced an apple she would slice for us or a candy or even a beignet or galettes...

So I thought today I would share a special recipe...Galettes!

Gather 500 gr Self rising flour, 350 gr of Butter (melted), 350 gr Caster sugar, 5 Vanilla sugar packets or 50 gr (I prefer Oetker), 4 large eggs and 1 pinch of salt.

In a large bowl, sift flour with sugar, vanilla sugar and salt. Whip eggs well together, add cooled melted butter and blend in flour mixture.

These are baked in a waffle maker and once cooled, stored in a hermetic tin (and yes, eaten cold!)


09 March 2011

Voyage with the Vikings - Book Review

The possibility to review Children books is something I have enjoyed greatly. My nose was always in a book as a child after all!
There is such a wonderful world to explore betwixt the pages of a good book and what a way to travel! One day you can be a Knight and riding with Richard the Lionheart, another you can be Kim and walk along the Llama in India... Marco Polo was definitively my favourite and my imagination led me to travel along the Spice Road with him...

Voyage with the Vikings is the first adventure of a series called The Imagination Station Focus on the Family. In this series we are introduced to the main characters Beth and Patrick and an inventor named Mr. Whittaker. As the story unfolds the two children are transported back in time in search of a precious Sunstone.
Their adventure takes them to the Year 1000 in Viking country. There they meet Erik the Red, Leif Erickson and many other Vikings, including a host of characters such as Polar bears and Reindeer.

This soon to be released series (21 March 2011) is written by Marianne Hering and Paul McCusker and designed for Readers age 7 and up, is fun to read and an excellent way to involve children in History and Geography. It is also very nicely illustrated!
Best of all, as part of Focus on the Family, it will also teach them some great Christian values.

Psst...Don't forget to check out the puzzle at the end of the book, then go to this site and enter the secret word for a surprise!

I give it 4 stars!

I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not asked to write a positive review and the opinions expressed are entirely my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

08 March 2011

Powerful Words, Voices and the Book Thief

There is no denying words are powerful and voices indeed mesmerizes thus we always remember the era of Hitler.
But if indeed such is the case, The Book Thief is truly an amazing book to read!

I first heard of this book thief whilst I was researching facts on another author and stumbled on an article about the writings of Markus Zusak complete with a photo of a very young author, one who certainly could not just "remember".
But I nearly forgot...To remember is also to witness and this was a story to be told!
You do not have to be somewhere physically to remember but it is however important that once you learn, you tell others about it.
Always forgive, never forget said my Grand Father.

Death toll for the Second World War I am told is over 60 million souls. To list a few, United Kingdom 450,700 , Belgium 86,100, Germany 6,777,000 to 8,863,000, Russia 23,954,000, United States 418,500, including 6 millions Jews, or roughly 78 % of all Europeans Jews.
Powerful words and mesmerizing voices are responsible for such a senseless destruction.

I was fourteen years old when I first read the Diary of Anne Frank and seventeen when I read The Hiding place by Corrie ten Boom.
I'll never forget The Boy who wore striped pajamas.
I remember snippets of conversation, numbers on a wrist, a language which sounded like music, missing people, crumbled walls and even bullet holes.
Yet I was born in the next generation.
Thus continues a legacy... Forgive, don't forget...

The Book Thief is the amazing story of a young girl named Liesel growing up in Germany's wartime era. Her father is a communist, her mother is in trouble with the Nazi party and her little brother soon dies.
She is sent to live with her foster parents Hans and Rosa Hubermann in Himmel street and befriends amongst other children, a boy named Rudy who is in love with her and becomes her best friend.
Theirs are a poor life and hunger their constant companion. Both children are also members of the Hitler Youth movement.

Books are a rare commodity in Nazi Germany, and Hans or Papa, teaches Liesel to read whilst writing on the basement wall and playing his accordion.

The book is written from Death's point of view -quite a novelty - and we discover Liesel will eventually meet Death 4 times.

During these harsh times, Liesel's foster parents hide a Jewish fist fighter in their basement and thus begins a friendship betwixt the young girl and the man called Max.

As the story unravels, we learn what it truly was to live in Hitler's Germany until one day, Hans Hubermann gives a morsel of bread to a Jew on the road to Dachau and tragedy strikes.

As I have stated before, there is a very fine line betwixt reviewing a book and giving all the facts, thus withholding the opportunity for anyone to discover for themselves a fine book.

This book is rated as Young Adult material but I am convinced any adult will discover in it a world rarely even acknowledged.
The original format, the 550 pages, the words of the narrator alone - " I am haunted by Humans" - makes this a powerful message to be read not just by young people!
This is the kind of book that at the end, you close, rest your hand on its cover and just feel with your heart as well as your mind.

Always forgive, never forget!
Such a simple message, and a hard earned one at the cost of over 60 millions souls...

Just a reminder as always: I was not asked to read this book and the afore mention reflects only my opinion albeit I will also add, I am looking forward to read more of Markus Zusak's work!

07 March 2011

International Women's Day 8 March 2011

Remembering a small but meaningful moment in History...

The International Women's Day was established in 1910 during the World Conference on Women held in Denmark and recognized by the United Nations in 1975.

On the 8th of March 1857 United States textile workers went on strike , occupying the factory and requesting changes including a 10 hours day instead of the usual 16 hours.

These workers, all women, received less than one third of men wages. Closed in the factory, they started a fire resulting in 130 of them burned alive.

The Women's Trade Union League was created in 1903, an association with the objective of helping all workers to demand better working conditions. Only five years later, over 14 thousand women marched in the streets protesting for the very same reason the workers did in 1857 and claimed the right to vote.

Their slogan became bread and roses to symbolize the stability of the economy and the roses, a better quality of life for all!

On the 8th of March let's remember these courageous ladies whilst not forgetting the many women around the world who are still asking for bread and roses!

Together Women around the World can make a difference! Let not one go hungry in spirit as well as in body!

The Great Depression was a very hard time for everyone but for women especially!

Today if you are a woman, I believe the world can be yours...if you are bold enough to take it of course! Women all over the world tirelessly juggle multiple jobs everyday to serve many constituencies such as family, employees, clients, community and all with as much energy, love and grace anyone can muster.

The French author Simone de Beauvoir wrote: "One is not born a woman, one becomes a woman." I would not call myself a feminist but I agree with her statement.

I also believe we each have to balance choice with obligation. Not an easy task!

In reflection I remember wishing many times to have the opportunity, the courage and the stamina to be a better woman. Then again, perhaps it is in someone else hands and it remains for me to remember everyday how blessed I am.

Proverbs 31 - The Portrait of a Godly Woman is still my choice!

"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies."

"Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value."

"She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life."

“She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands."

“She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar."

"She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls."

"She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard."

"She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks."

"She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night."

"In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers."

"She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy."

"When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet."

"She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple."

"Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land."

"She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes."

"Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come"

"She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue."

"She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness."

"Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her."

"Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."

"Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate."

Let's stand and TOGETHER make this a better world for all!

Reflections on just being Me, a Woman!

05 March 2011

Island living, Market Days and Baskets

It is Saturday and living on the island means I will miss Market day again...sigh...
Of all things I truly miss, it is that! For somewhere today there is sure to be an open air market!
There are a few on the mainland of course but betwixt ferry schedules, travel time and the petrol price...

For anyone who grew up going to Market Days most every week with her Grand Mother as I did there is something missing in other stores. The convenience of shopping numerous aisles with countless competitive brands of boxed and packaged tasteless food is not something I have grasped yet and probably never will!

Growing up I remember shopping at the Bakery, the Deli, the Grocer, the Butcher and so on...
And the Pastry shoppe was one that if you can believe it, I could not stand the smell of. One whiff and I was sick!

Those were the days...

You know the song: "I remembered it well..." Perhaps it is so, for the years have gone by but I remember...

Market Day was held every Saturday in our borough and I can still see Granny's caddy being prepared for this express expedition.
Dressed for the outing, ours was a temperate but often wet climate then, and wearing a good pair of brogues, she would then briskly walk us to the Market.
In her caddy she would be sure to have a box for her eggs, a few shopping bags for her fresh (and I mean fresh!) vegetables and in her pocket, her money purse.

I remember distinctly the stop at the Irish farmer stand for butter as this was her favourite along with strong cheese, next came the Dutch peddler who had his best brown eggs ready to be packed in her box (Yes, recycling was already in "vogue" - It is still hilarious to see all these "new hints" popping up everywhere about being "green" - What do you think we did before this latest wave of awareness?).

Next came the fresh (and I repeat fresh!) vegetables in season and all local produce. The latter is worth mentioning I believe as I wonder why people expect strawberries in Wintertime or spinach in the Summer... Yes it is available but at such a dire price and hybrids loose so much to taste! I like my cauliflower to taste like one for one thing and I cannot but cringe each time I read a new report on chemicals!

I seem to recall a visit to the butcher's or the fishmonger once a week but as I was never fond of the displays, I would just stand outside guarding the caddy!
Ours was a taste for simple fare and home cooking was all we knew. With a wonderful bakery around the corner, Granny did not bake her bread and sweets were not a daily treat either.

The one thing I remember was our last stop before going home. We were not rich of course and perhaps it might seem extravagant to some but a simple bouquet of flowers (or during really hard times just a bloom or two) would always end in our market basket even if it meant cutting expenses at the butcher for i.e. Her favourite was the souci!

I miss those days...

And since I happen to love baskets, especially market ones, I thought I would share the following site with you:


Au revoir!

Note: As always, please keep in mind all opinions are personal and I receive no compensation for the afore mention. The site simply seems to have a good selection of market baskets!