28 September 2011

The Ambition, Book review

Book description:

A corrupt judge in a mob murder case. A disillusioned pastor, hungry for power. A cynical reporter, sniffing for a scandal. A gambling addict whose secret tape threatens the lives of everyone who hears it. New York Times bestselling author Lee Strobel weaves these edgy characters into an intricate thriller set in a gleaming, suburban mega church, a big-city newspaper struggling for survival, and the shadowy corridors of political intrigue. The unexpected climax is as gripping as the contract killing that punctuates the opening scene. 

My review:

'Deceit - Danger - Death, All in a day's work' is definitively not the usual approach of Lee Strobel's masterful bestsellers but I must admit I was intrigued by his first work of fiction, thus the reason for my choice of book to review!

Lee Strobel's work is always clear, concise and very well researched. Anyone not yet familiar with his non fiction books should know upfront his writing reflects his work ethic: factual, impeccably documented and always family oriented.

With a very entertaining plot and intriguing characters, almost eerily so, 'The Ambition' is everything I anticipated from such a well known author. Interestingly enough, Lee Strobel tells us this is a work of fiction:
"Given my role as a pastor at two of the country's largest churches, it would be natural for people to try to guess who the book's characters most resemble. But it would be a futile effort, because they are the creation of my imagination."

Still, here you will discover the inner work of a mega church, a not so surprising corrupted legal system, the  seediness of the underworld of a large city, a floundering newspaper and yes, a secret tape...
I should add I have been to Chicago the 'Windy City' but as I have never tasted one of the Chicago 'best dogs', I will have to take his word when describing these! 

Best of all and with his usual acute writing skills, the author clearly teaches without seeming to preach, not an easy task!
I will close this by telling you this is a gripping thriller which I found myself having a hard time to put down. Perhaps we can anticipate a sequel in the future?
I for one would enjoy more of Strobel's fiction work!

An excellent 5 stars!

About the Author:

'Atheist-turned-Christian Lee Strobel, the former award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune, is a New York Times best-selling author of more than twenty books and has been interviewed on numerous national TV programs, including ABC, Fox, PBS, and CNN'.

For more on this formidable author visit his website @ http://www.leestrobel.com/

I received this book free from ZONDERVAN 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.

27 September 2011

A Heart Revealed, Book review

Book description:

Ten years ago, Emma Malloy fled Dublin for Boston as a battered woman, escaping the husband who scarred her beautiful face. The physical and emotional wounds have faded with time, and her life is finally full of purpose and free from the pain of her past. But when she falls for her friend Charity's handsome and charming brother, Sean O'Connor, fear and shame threaten to destroy her. Could Sean and Emma ever have a future together? Or is Emma doomed to live out the rest of her life denying the only true love she's ever known?

My review:

'A Heart Revealed' is number two of the 'Winds of Change' series, bringing to readers a world of such longing, passion, even deception that you will soon find yourself drawn to the world of the O'Connell family!
With over 500 pages, this inspirational work of fiction is filled with many dreams and secrets as only Julie Lessman  offers without boring her readers.
This is an interesting tale set in the thirties with many protagonists, each character's true heart revealed amongst the emotional conflicts they face individually yet always reminding us that nothing is impossible with the Lord by our side!

Subtly reminiscent of the rich narrative of 'Gone with the Wind', this is a story that you will enjoy reading slowly, never rushing any of the chapters and it is certain to bring in the true fashion of romance, a few sighs!
I found entreating the many little details that brings readers a glimpse of a world gone by where women first realized their full potential in particular. It also introduces readers to the very Irish O'Connor family legacy, thus even if you have not read book # 1, 'A Hope Undaunted', you will enjoy this story on its own.

Perhaps the most attractive aspect of Emma and Sean's relationship is that it is based on mutual respect for each other. Their relationship evolves from friendship to romance with exquisite warmth and you soon appreciate the beauty and delicacy the author uses to describe any intimacy between the characters.This is first and foremost a Christian novel, but it is also a story of living a full life with the good times, and the bad times.
It remains for me to say the intricacy of the relationships of the O'Connor family will leave you feeling their very emotions as only a good author such as Julie Lessman can or shall I say, an author whose passions are God and Romance!

I give this one 5 stars.

“Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Meet the Author:
Julie Lessman is the popular author of 'A Passion Most Pure', 'A Passion Redeemed', and 'A Passion Denied', as well as 'A Hope Undaunted', which was one of 2010's Booklist Top Ten Inspirational Fiction winners. Julie has garnered several writing awards, including ten Romance Writers of America awards.

I received this book free from BAKER PUBLISHING GROUP 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.

26 September 2011

Back... From Alaska Via Canada

Anyone going to Alaska in Septembre should not forget their wellies! Lesson # 1!

Do not forget to pack motion sickness tablets even if you think you can handle 7 to 12 ft swells! Lesson # 2!

Enjoy your trip no matter what! Lesson # 3!

Today is so precious! I am so happy I had the opportunity to visit Alaska and yes, I have taken a few good photos (we shall soon find out!) which I hope to share with readers.

Amazingly, I still feel the swells and it seems everything around me is moving as it did on the ship. But never fear, I hope to be back in tip top shape in the wee morning!

Blessings to all,

17 September 2011

Gone...To Alaska!

My family and I decided to venture a bit further north this year and we are traveling by ship to Alaska and then Canada this very morning!

 (This bear has the right idea!)

I have been promised a few days away from cooking, cleaning, washing laundry and such daily normality's. All I can say is that if the ship's crew goes on strike, I plan to jump ship!

(Oh, I would love to see this little fox!)

I hope to bring back lots of photos to share with readers so until then, I say goodbye and blessings to all!

16 September 2011

The Prodigy Project, Book Review

Book description:

When the seeds of death are sown into the very blueprints of life, no one is safe... Someone is trying to resurrect ancient viruses hidden deep within the human genetic code to create a biological weapon so specific that it can target an individual -- or an entire race. When two young prodigies discover their "medical research" is being used to build this weapon, they seek outside help to destroy it and to flee China. Help comes in the unlikely guise of Jon Gunderson-doctor, bio-weapons expert, and devoted family man whose unsuspecting wife and nine children have unwittingly accompanied him on yet another assignment. Once the truth comes to light, the Gundersons will have to set aside their differences if they hope to rescue the prodigies and escape with their lives. The fate of the world hangs in the balance as the bittersweet dynamics of a large but loving family take center stage against the backdrop of China's breathtaking landscapes. 

My review:

Where shall I begin? This book is full of interesting twists and truly entertaining! The description of the rather large family (think many, many kids here!) travel plans  (no Disney World for them), the well organized sibling responsibilities (Mr. Flanders, I wish I knew you a few years back!) all comes with a real twist in this latest adventure.

Dad is a spy (!), has a lovely wife (she must be a Saint!) and nine wonderful children (I plead for my sanity after two...I love you kids!) and it seems the setup is perfect as a cover whenever a mission calls him in the field. A practicing M.D. with a degree in Biology, this man works for Homeland security.

This time around, the mission calls him to China to rescue two young computer geniuses who have uncovered information regarding a terrible biological weapon. As usual, (Super) Dad takes his family along, this time under the guise of a geographical competition. Can you hear me say: How does he do it?

Throughout this work of fiction (I hope so at any rate!), Doug Flanders uses his medical expertise to describes health issues in an easy format for us to follow. His story unfolds with exciting narratives and amazing scene descriptions guaranteed to make you feel as if you are tagging along just like any other member of the family.
And just as you think you have figured it out, another twist happens in the plot and you are once again off the track!

The product of a devoted family man, this is Doug Flanders first novel and I must say I always enjoy such a good story! Well worth reading, a prelude I hope for more of the kind and I gave it 5 stars for family entertainment!

About Doug Flanders:

With twelve children and three grandsons, author Doug Flanders is well acquainted with non-stop adventure. He draws on 15 years experience as an Army Reservist and 18 years as a practicing physician to craft his medical thrillers. 

Visit their website (here)!

P.S. I hear another book by Doug Flanders called 'Hard Mercy' is soon to be published! Check it out (here)

I received this book free from BOOK CRASH 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.

A Lancaster County Christmas, Book Review and Giveaway

Book description:

Jaime and C. J. Fitzpatrick began their married life as most couples do--in love and looking forward to a bright future together. But four years later they've drifted apart and are almost ready to call it quits.
Mattie Riehl was hoping to give her husband Sol the Christmas gift they have both longed for--news that a baby was on the way. But as usual, she is disappointed. The holidays bring an acute awareness to Mattie that her dream of a big family isn't likely to become a reality.
Then a winter storm raging outside blows the Fitzpatricks into the Riehl home--and into a much slower pace of life. Can these two couples from different worlds help each other understand the true meaning of love this Christmas?

My review:

I think there is nothing like Christmas and the incredible feeling it brings to all who believe in the birth of the Child Christ!
Suzanne Woods Fisher is the kind of writer whom readers know they can expect an excellent plot deftly written, a message of hope and a great deal of Amish wisdom along a good dose of humour!
One look at the cover (yes, I know you should not judge a book by its cover alone) and the author's name and I knew I would enjoy it. There is something wholesome about Suzanne Woods Fisher's stories and her acute knowledge of the Amish society always attracts!

In 'A Lancaster County Christmas', we find both Englisher and Amish families sharing a few days during the Christmas season due to unexpected circumstances and I will readily admit it put me in the Christmas spirit immediately. 
It is the true gift of a good author to be able to make any reader see the plain life of Amish families, feel the snow flakes on his/her face, the warmth of a love shared by people who truly care about each other, the anxiety experienced by someone who is once again disappointed by events they cannot control and most important the steadfastness of God's love for all! 
Suzanne Woods Fisher is such an author!

Even better in 'A Lancaster County Christmas' we learn about SAR (Search and Rescue) and the efficiency of a search well planned by equally well trained volunteers.
Life sometimes does follow some unexpected turns and it is up to us to learn to lean on our faith to find the strengh to go on. Christmas is a wonderful gift, a season of love, hope and joy! 'A Lancaster County Christmas' brings you all these feelings!

I recommend picking up a copy of 'A Lancaster County Christmas' and let the spirit of the season surround you! In fact, pick up an additional copy for a loved one or a friend, a perfect gift to share with them!
P.S. I couldn't but laugh at the suggestion of Mr. September! Suzanne Woods Fisher feels like a friend and I guarantee you will enjoy this latest book!
How could I give anything but 5 stars for a book that had me laughing and crying?!

Meet Suzanne Woods Fisher:

Her interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was raised Plain. She has many, many Plain relatives living in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, and travels back to Pennsylvania , as well as to Ohio , a couple of times each year for research.

Suzanne has a great admiration for the Plain people and believes they provide wonderful examples to the world.  In both her fiction and non-fiction books, she has an underlying theme: You don't have to "go Amish" to incorporate many of their principles--simplicity, living with less, appreciating nature, forgiving others more readily-- into your life.

When Suzanne isn't writing or bragging to her friends about her first new grandbaby (!), she is raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you just can't take life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.

And now for the Giveaway:

It’s Christmas in September!

To celebrate the release of her first Christmas book, Suzanne Woods Fisher has teamed up with her publisher, Revell, to bring you the "Christmas in September" iPad Giveaway! The winner will be announced on 9/27 at the A Lancaster County Christmas Facebook Party! Details below. Tell your friends and join in the fun (9/7-9/27).

Oh and be sure to follow the blog tour here - many of the bloggers have copies of the book to giveaway! 

Suzanne and Revell will be presenting one merry winner with a Christmas Prize Pack (valued at over $600):

  • A Brand New iPad 2 with Wi-Fi
  • $25 gift certificate to iTunes
  • A copy of A Lancaster County Christmas

To enter, click one of the icons below. But, hurry the giveaway ends on 9/26.

But, wait! There's more! The winner will be announced at the A Lancaster County Christmas Facebook Party on 9/27 at Suzanne's author page. During the party she'll be revealing something *BIG* - you won't want to miss it. She'll also be hosting a book chat, trivia contest and giving away a few early Christmas presents! Hope to see you there.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

I received this book free from LITFUSE PUBLICITY GROUP 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.

14 September 2011

Spread the word: 'Gabby, God's Little Angel' is here!

I am always reaching out for children books these days, particularly since I hear Madeline's Mum loves to read to her just as I did to my children years ago!
This one particular story is certain to delight parent and child alike!

Book description:

What little girl wouldn't love her very own guardian angel? Parents and children alike will be won over by this humorous tale of Gabby, a guardian angel in training who has much to learn about taking care of God's little ones. Her new assignment is to protect a young girl named Sophie, but Gabby soon realizes that watching after Sophie is a bigger challenge than she had expected! After a close call while riding her pony, Sophie learns what the Bible says about guardian angels: "He will put his angels in charge of you. They will watch over you wherever you go" (Psalm 91:11 ICB).

Sheila Walsh is the author of this lovely story:

'I set out to develop a new character that young readers would embrace and delight in, and out from my pen and from my heart poured a new series, Gabby, God's Little Angel. Gabby is an adorable guardian angel in training who finds that she has so much to learn about taking care of God's children.

I am so passionate about teaching the little angels in your own lives just how much God loves them. I pray that through my new little friend, Gabby, they will discover this truth and rest assured that He is always watching over them!'

For more information on Sheila (here)

I hope you enjoy discovering Gabby as I did!

Blessings to all,

11 September 2011

God and Stephen Hawking, Book Review

Book Description:

'The Grand Design', by eminent scientist Stephen Hawking, is the latest blockbusting contribution to the so-called New Atheist debate, and claims that the laws of physics themselves brought the Universe into being, rather than God. In this swift and forthright reply, John Lennox, Oxford mathematician and author of 'God's Undertaker', exposes the flaws in Hawking's logic. In lively, layman's terms, Lennox guides us through the key points in Hawking's arguments - with clear explanations of the latest scientific and philosophical methods and theories - and demonstrates that far from disproving a Creator God, they make his existence seem all the more probable.

My review:

I think it is safe to say most everyone has heard of Stephen Hawking, a well known English scientist, physicist and mathematician who made fundamental contributions to the study of the origins, structure and space-time relationships of the universe.

In his book called 'The Grand Design' Mr. Hawking states: 'Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.' and another gem: "One can't prove that God doesn't exist, but science makes God unnecessary."

Well, I must say I was only too happy to read John C. Lennox's answer in 'God and Stephen Hawking: Whose design is it anyway?'. I imagine my grandmother would have a thing or two to say also to Mr. Stephen Hawking...Something such as 'If I am wrong in believing there is a God, then I have lost nothing. However if I am right, and you are wrong, then you have lost everything.'

Hawkins has absolutely no proof of what he calls the 'M' theory which John C. Lennox describes in a much more understandable manner in chapter two of his book. According to Hawking, the 'M' theory (his chosen candidate for a final unifying theory of physics) predicts a great many universes were created out of nothing. But how can something be made out of nothing?

John C. Lennox discusses this and other arguments made by Hawking, presenting both sides of these latest scientific and philosophical methods and theories in a concise and intelligent format yet easy to follow for anyone interested.  I admit I know next to nothing of Quantum physics.
Using facts and skillfully quoting reliable scientists and notable scholars, the author brings you to an undeniable conclusion: God's existence seems all the more probable!
As a Christian I have always objected to the statement that 'Religion is the opium of the masses.'  I believe myself to be a 'thinking' person and I perceive science as a marvelous world of 'what if?'.
I cannot conceive having to choose betwixt science and God!
Science does not exist without God, they are not separate, but judge for yourself by reading this 96 page book!

I give this one 5 stars (albeit it is worth much more!)

Meet the author:
John Lennox is Professor of Mathematics in the University of Oxford, Fellow in Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science, and Pastoral Advisor at Green Templeton College, Oxford. He is also an adjunct Lecturer at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University and at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and is a Senior Fellow of the Trinity Forum. In addition, he teaches for the Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme at the Executive Education Centre, Said Business School, Oxford University.

I received this book free from KREGEL 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.

Never Forgotten...

No one shall ever forget 11th Septembre 2001...

The cowardly attacks in that one single day resulted in 2977 victims and 19 hijackers/terrorists bringing the casualties to 2996 deaths with some 90 countries loosing citizens, both civilian and military...Amongst them 66 Britons and 1 Belgian...

Rescuers came from all over to help America in its moment of need...2000 first responders were injured during the attacks... 

Let's not forget the 400+ SAR dogs and their handlers who searched for survivors... 
Amongst that day's Heroes...

(John Patrick and Guese)

A few of the braves who died helping others...

343 Firefighters including a Chaplain
  23 NY Police Officers
  37 (Port Authority) Police Officers
  15 EMTs
    3 Court Officers

 and a bomb sniffing dog named Sirius...

Riley the Golden Retriever, here seen resting between shifts...

(Shirley Hammond and dog Sunny)

Until the last one comes home...

Visit the Memorial here and check out also 'Dog Heroes of September 11th' here .
Let's pray such a tragedy NEVER occurs again...

09 September 2011

Oriah Mountain Dreamer: The Invitation

 'Meeting' other bloggers is always a source of discovery for me. On this tiny screen (laptop) I have the opportunity to visit with kindred spirits all over the world. 

Each of us use a keyboard, often daily, to reach out to readers, sending inner thoughts in cyber space. Some  speaks eloquently of their favourite crafts, some displays fine culinary skills, some shares wonderful photos of their little corner of the earth and some sends messages of hope and sometime, sorrows...

This time I would like to share with readers a post by 'The Priest's Housekeeper' called 'The Invitation'. 
Oriah Mountain Dreamer, a Canadian Storyteller is the author of this wonderful poem.

My favourite lines would be:

'It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive'.

Both Flyboy and I read it and we agreed: it is absolutely beautiful! 
Thank you Ann for sharing it! This lovely book is definitively on my 'list' to keep!
Blessings to all,

08 September 2011

Fairer Than Morning, Book Review And Giveaway

Book description:

On a small farm in 19th-century Ohio, young Ann Miller is pursued by the gallant Eli Bowen, son of a prominent family. Eli is the suitor of Ann's dreams. Like her, he enjoys poetry and beautiful things and soon, he will move to the city to become a doctor.
Ann travels to Pittsburgh, accompanying her father on business. There she meets Will Hanby, a saddle-maker's apprentice. Will has spent years eking out an existence under a cruel master and his spirit is nearly broken. But Ann's compassion lights a long-dark part of his soul. Through his encounters with Ann's father, a master saddler, Will discovers new hope and courage in the midst of tremendous adversity.
When the Millers must return to Ohio and their ministry there, Will resolves to find them, at any cost. If Will can make it back to Ann, will she be waiting?

My review:

Fairer than Morning is a fictional novel set in the 1820's and inspired by a well known family in the history of Westerville Ohio, the Hanbys.
Since I am familiar with this family's connection to the famous Otterbein College, I thought it to be an interesting subject and looked forward to discover this new writer. 
In this first novel Rosslyn Elliott introduces us to the Saddler's legacy series and describes the humble beginnings of William Hanby, mainly his years in indentured service.
William Hanby and Ann Miller were real people who fell in love, married and had 8 children of whom composer Ben Hanby (Darling Nelly Gray) is probably the best known. The family was very active in the Underground Railway and harboured runaways both in Rushville and Westerville.

Rosslyn Elliott has introduced some well known (at least in the Midwest) historical facts in this work of fiction and it is interesting to note her clear description of the runaways slaves is perhaps the highlight of this novel. Somehow the two main characters are a bit lost in her description, and I would be remiss if I did not point out that I found the whole story to be fragmented. 

Whilst we do not have as much information as we wish on William and Ann, their combined and formidable convictions regarding anti slavery and their faith in particular are not enough reflected in this novel. The description of Ohio and Pensylvania in the 19th Century also could use a bit more elaboration. Historical societies in both states offer much more information than it is reflected here.
Finally the added characters brings little support to the whole story and I found it lacking in historical interest.
In such, I found the book to lack the vitality of the well known Ohio river life and the sentiments of stepping into history with the characters was just missing. Certain subjects also do not make this Christian material for younger ladies yet I would have labelled this novel to be for younger adults.

I give this one 3 stars!

Since this is part of a blog tour, please visit

About the Author:

'Rosslyn Elliott was born into a military family and lived in four states and two foreign countries before she graduated from high school. Her frequent relocation into new social scenes encouraged her to become a close observer of others, and a writer.
She attended Yale University, where she earned a BA in English and Theater Studies. She earned her Ph.D. in English at Emory University in 2006.
Rosslyn's graduate study of American literature spurred her to pursue her lifelong dream of writing fiction. She writes inspirational historical novels filled with romance and adventure.'

And now for the giveaway:

To celebrate the release of her debut novel, Fairer Than MorningRosslyn Elliott is giving away two fabulous prize packages. The first is brand new KINDLE in her Fairer Than Morning Kindle Giveaway. Then on September 20th she's giving away a $200 gift certificate toward a Custom-Made Historical Reproduction Dress (from Recollections) during the Fairer Than Morning Book Club Chat Party on Facebook! Sigh...romantic.

Fairer Than Morning is receiving wonderful reviews - Library Journal said, "A well-written historical series debut…". Read more reviews here.

Be sure to join the fun and enter the Kindle contest - 

One winner will receive:

* Kindle with Wi-Fi

* Fairer Than Morning (for Kindle)

To enter just click one of the icons below. But, hurry, giveaway ends on 9/19. Winner will be announced on 9/20 at Rosslyn's Book Club Facebook Party. Details and official rules can be found when entering the contest.

Then be sure to RSVP for Rosslyn's Facebook Party! During the party Rosslyn will be chatting with guests, hosting a book chat about Fairer Than Morning (don't worry if you haven't read the book yet - you could win a copy!) & historical Fiction, testing your trivia skills. She'll also be giving away that $200 gift certificate toward a FABULOUS custom-made period dress from Recollections!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

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.

05 September 2011

Labour Day In The USA

A few facts...

The American Labour Day or Workingman's Holiday is celebrated on the first day of Septembre and is traced to New York City's Union Square on 5 Septembre 1882 mainly to appease city workers after numerous strikes and violent rioting.

It is said that more than 10,000 workers took an unpaid holiday to march in this first Labor Day parade.
Oregon, Colorado, New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey were the first states to declare Labour Day as a state holiday for all. President Grover declared that day Labor Day in 1894.

Cost of living in 1880 in the US (if you could afford it):
- One bag of flour $1.80 
- Small measure of potatoes daily at .17 per day = $1.19 
- One quarter pound of tea .38
- One quart of milk .56 
- One pound of cheap coffee .35 
- Three and one half pounds Sugar $1.05 
- One half ration of meats per week $3.50
- Four pounds of butter $1.60 
- Two pounds of lard .38 
- Dried apples for treats .25 
- Vegetables .50 
- Soap, starch, pepper, salt, vinegar, etc. $1.00 
- 2 bushels of coal $1.36 
- Kerosene .30 
- Sundries .28 
- Rent $4.00 week 
Total $18.50

The average worker in 1880 made $16.50 a week and some only 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 dollars a week depending on the trade. Of these, women only earned 60 to 70% of men's wages and working condition were said to be horrible particularly in factories. Imagine a woman receiving 6 cents for each shirt she sewed! On record men driving horse drawn streetcars in the city made about $1.75 working a minimum of 14 to 16 hours a day.

Let's remember today the brave men and women who courageously changed History...

04 September 2011

Sundays thoughts

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is
     to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone
     with the heavens, nature and God.

Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and 
     that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple 
     beauty of nature.  I firmly believe that nature brings solace 
     in all troubles. 
                                                                                 - Anne Frank  
 God is good, God is great...

Sunday Blessings to all,

02 September 2011

Answered Prayers!

Since our young friend called us on 5 July to tell us of Madeline's birth we have been praying daily that this beautiful little angel would soon overcome all the trauma she experienced. Madeline's little shoulders did not clear the birth canal and 10 minutes elapsed before she was released. Her little heart stopped beating and the ensuing difficulties created a dramatic ending to nine months of perfectly normal gestation.

Fifty nine days later this little fighter and her loving parents have arrived Home! Many obstacles have yet to be overcome and Madeline will have to see specialists to deal with health issues and take many medications.
All this has created new challenges but her Mum and Dad's faith continues to be strong. God granted them the joy of being finally a family and I know they must be overjoyed!

For readers who have followed Madeline's lenghy hospital stay, we hope you will join us in praying all will continue to go well for this loving and very caring family! 

For anyone interested here is the link to Madeline's blog: 

This is an answer to many prayers!


01 September 2011

Septembre already?

Somehow it does not seem possible a new season is soon upon us yet whom am I to complaint?
I love Autumn! Septembre means cooler weather (one week of higher temperatures was enough), apple and rhubarb pies, no island visitors (shh...we love the quiet of the season), and evenings spend reading lots of books with our Corgi and kitty by our feet...Bliss...

It also means we will soon be traveling to Alaska... More on this later!

Note to readers: I wanted to share with all of you 'The Butterfly Effect' by The Priest's Housekeeper and 'These are the Gifts' by A Trail of Flowers. Both are absolutely beautiful!

I know I hear this little guy but I have only seen him once...I call him the messenger...yes, Autumn will soon be here...

Blessings to all,

A Not-So-Silent Night, Book Review

Book description:

Christmas is a time for peace on earth, a time for favorite carols, family dinners, and familiar traditions. It's about a beautiful story of a lovely babe in the manger. Or is it?
A Not-So-Silent Night uncovers the dark side of Christmas, a side that exposes pain, humiliation, fear, and danger. Though we usually choose to ignore them, these elements--in their cultural and historical context--reveal the true meaning of Christmas where the shadow of the cross is inseparable from the manger. Author Verlyn D. Verbrugge maintains that until we see the dark side of Christmas, until we shed tears with Mary and Joseph, until we experience the fear that war is on the horizon, we will never truly understand the awesomeness of what happened in that little town of Bethlehem.

My review:

Christmas is a very special time in the Christian calendar but it has never been in our family an expensive holiday celebration. Being expats, we each kept some of our well rooted traditions and simply incorporated some new ones thus making it an original blend!
The Advent calendar with the lightning of candles, Midnight mass and the Nativity all had their place along our (tiny) tree in the Flanders. Caroling, the reading of the Christmas story, the birthday cake for Jesus, Boxing Day and so on were added later once I married a Brit!

Most importantly, we always reminded our children that Christmas is ongoing  throughout the year. The feeling of elation we experience throughout this blessed Season should not stop when you take the tree down!
Christmas is a time for hope, a time for rejoicing, a time for sharing and so much more!

In 'A Not So Silent Christmas', Verlyn D. Verbrugge delivers a provocative albeit well developed argument that there is a dark side to Christmas. This he tells us is usually ignored by Christians but these different emotions (pain, humiliation, fear and danger) reveals the true meaning of the Season.  He adds that until we see the dark side and acknowledge the shadow of the Cross as inseparable from the Manger, we will not understand what truly happened over 2000 years ago in a little town called Bethlehem.

At the risk of sounding very naive, I would like to think I see the best in everything. Society as we know it has enough dark side. Yes, there is good and evil in everything but until we believe in the good of all things, we have not accepted Christ! It is only when we release 'power' in His hands, that we are true believers.

A startling amount of research was enacted to put together this 103 page book and since I am no theologian, I will not dispute the veracity of Verlyn D. Verbrugge. I will not differ on Mary and Joseph's sadness at the birth of their child and its circumstances for example nor the ensuing events or even its shady locale history. Mr. Verbrugge's reputation tells me I am out of my depth but whilst others will agree with him I have to well, disagree!

I will close this by telling you Christmas means something entirely different to me, it is coloured with happy thoughts and reverence and not for a moment will I see it as something dark!  I am a dreamer and I remain hopeful!

I could only give it 3 stars!

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