31 October 2011

Happy All Hallows Eve!

Since my daughter was little, she always felt Halloween was the best of holidays and throughout the years Ravens and Spiders held a special attraction for her! 
So today whilst thinking of her I thought to post about her favourite time of the year and a poem (written by Anonymous) which brought a chuckle!


Through Goshen Hollow, where hemlocks grow,
Where rushing rills, with flash and flow,
Are over the rough rocks falling;
 Where fox, where bear, and catamount hide,
In holes and dens In the mountain side,
A Circuit-preacher once used to ride,
And his name was Rufus Rawling.

He was set in his ways and what was strange,
If you argued with him he would not change,
One could get nothing through him.
Solemn and slow In style was he,
 Slender and slim as a tamarack tree,
And always ready to disagree
With every one that knew him.
One night he saddled his sorrel mare,
And started over to Ripton, where
 He had promised to do some preaching.
 Away he cantered over the hill,
Past the schoolhouse at Capen's mill;
The moon was down and the place was still,
 Save the sound of a night-hawk screeching.

At last he came to a deep ravine,
He felt a kind of queer, and mean
Sensation stealing o'er him.
 Old Sorrel began to travel slow,
Then gave a snort and refused to go;
 The parson chucked, and he holloa'd "whoa,"
And wondered what was before him.

Then suddenly he seemed to hear
A gurgling groan so very near,
It scattered his senses nearly.
"Go 'ome, go'ome," It loudly cried,
"Go 'ome," re-echoed the mountain side,
 "Go 'ome," away In the distance died-
 He wished he was home sincerely.

And then before his startled sight,
A light flashed out upon the night
 That seemed to "beat all creation."
 Then through the bushes a figure stole,
 With eyes of fire and lips of coal,
That froze his blood and shook his soul
With horror and consternation.

He lost his sermon, he dropped his book,
 His hair stood up, and his saddle shook
Like a sawmill under motion
.No cry he uttered, no word he said,
 But, suddenly turning Sorrel's head,
Away and out of the woods he fled
As fast as he could for Goshen.

The ghost he saw and the rattling bones
Were a pumpkin, a gourd, and some gravel stones,
That gave him all that glory;
But ne'er again up that mountain side,
In the light would Rufus Rawling ride,
And many a time I've laughed till I cried
To hear him tell the story.

 Have a safe All Hallows Eve!

30 October 2011

Sundays In The Old West

The Old West continues to fascinate people and here and there, there are reminders of its rich history. Sometime it is an old ghost town, sometime a derelict cemetery or even ruts in a trail used by pioneers...

(Ruts on the Old Oregon Trail)

History tells us pioneer families would gather on Sunday to worship sometime in a church building  erected by members or simply in the open if they were lucky enough to be on the (preacher) circuit!

Church gathering can be anywhere of course, God is present everywhere! 

As I was listening to a beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace this morning I came across the story of an old Cowboy, one I wish to share...

'One Sunday morning, an old cowboy entered a church just before services were to begin. Although the old man and his clothes were spotlessly clean, he wore jeans, a denim shirt and boots that were worn and ragged. In his hand he carried a worn-out old hat and an equally worn, dog-eared Bible.

The church he entered was in a very upscale and exclusive part of the city. It was the largest and most beautiful church the old cowboy had ever seen. The people of the congregation were all dressed with expensive clothes and fine jewelry. As the cowboy took a seat, the others moved away from him. No one greeted, spoke to, or welcomed him. They were all appalled by his appearance and did not attempt to hide it.
As the old cowboy was leaving the church, the preacher approached him and asked the cowboy to do him a favor. "Before you come back in here again, have a talk with God and ask him what he thinks would be appropriate attire for worship in church." The old cowboy assured the preacher he would.
The next Sunday, he showed back up for the services wearing the same ragged jeans, shirt, boots, and hat. Once again he was completely shunned and ignored. The preacher approached the cowboy and said, "I thought I asked you to speak to God before you came back to our church."
"I did," replied the old cowboy.
"And what was his reply?" asked the preacher.
"Well, sir, God told me that he didn't have a clue what I should wear. He said he'd never been in this church."

May you have a blessed Sunday,

29 October 2011

The Baker's Wife, Book review and Giveaway

Book description:

Before Audrey was the baker's wife, she was the pastor's wife.
Then a scandalous lie cost her husband a pastoral career. Now the two work side-by-side running a bakery, serving coffee, and baking fresh bread. But the hurt still pulls at Audrey.
Driving early one morning to the bakery, Audrey's car strikes something-or someone-at a fog-shrouded intersection. She finds a motor scooter belonging to a local teacher. Blood is everywhere, but there's no trace of a body.
Both the scooter and the blood belong to detective Jack Mansfield's wife, and he's certain that Audrey is behind Julie's disappearance.
But the case dead-ends and the detective spirals into madness. When he takes her family and some patrons hostage at the bakery, Audrey is left with a soul-damaged ex-con and a cynical teen to solve the mystery. And she'll never manage that unless she taps into something she would rather leave behind-her excruciating ability to feel other's pain.

My review:

The first thing that came to mind when I read this story is this is someone who truly knows the art of writing!
'The Baker's Wife' is my first encounter with best selling author Erin Healy and whilst this is not my usual reading material I am absolutely not sorry for choosing it.
There is something very real in her characters which makes her plot the more plausible, a true affinity with the real and supernatural consciouness surrounding Christian beliefs. No matter the crisis she carefully details for readers to perceive, there is a solid reminder God is near at all times, a feeling (hope) that all will turn out well.
As a novelist she takes you along all the twisted paths of a good thriller and lets you discover many facets of human nature. Good and evil after all go hand in hand.

In 'The Baker's Wife' there is a permeating fog, not unlike the one which plagues the locals, (the colour grey comes to mind!). It surrounds the story as it develops leaving a veil which once lifted, reveals a surprising ending!

Erin Healy tells us on her blog: 'Writing is one way I work out my ideas, questions, doubts, and confidence about God’s work in this world he created. It’s my witness, and I hope it’s a witness that invites public discussion.'

An excellent work of Christian fiction, a must read for any reading book club and a definite 'must add' to your Christmas list, this suspense book delivers all that it promises. You will find it hard to put down!

I give it 4 stars!

About the author:

Erin Healy is an award-winning editor who worked with Ted Dekker on more than a dozen of his stories before their collaboration on Kiss. She owns WordWright Editorial Services, a consulting firm specializing in fiction book development.

Enter to win a KitchenAid Mixer and RSVP for Facebook Party on 11/10!

Let the flour fly! Beginning October 24th, Erin's celebrating the release of her latest page turner, The Baker's Wife, with an outstanding KitchenAid baking prize package giveaway that includes a brand new KitchenAid Mixer, cook books, and all you need to whip up some fabulous bread or sweets! Then and on November 10th she'll be wrapping up the release of The Baker's Wife with an Author Book Chat Party on Facebook! Don't miss a minute of the fun!

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • Empire Red 4.5 QT Ultra Power KitchenAid Stand Mixer
  • Black & White Kitschy Apron
  • Black Silicone Oven Mitt
  • Black OXO Rolling Pin
  • Wilton 9X5 loaf pan
  • At My Grandmother's Knee Cookbook by Faye Porter
  • Second Helpings with Johnnie Gabriel Cookbook
  • The Baker's Wife by Erin Healy
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 9th. 

Winner will be announced at The Baker's Wife Author Book Chat Facebok Party. Erin will be wrapping up the The Baker's Wife celebration with a book club chat and giving away a bunch of "sweet treats"! So grab your copy of The Baker's Wife (it's okay if you don't have one yet- you might win one!) and join Erin on the evening of November 10th for a book chat, some "baking" trivia and lots of "sweet" giveaways (books, and Amazon, iTunes & Starbucks gift certificates)!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends. Hope to see you on the 10th!

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.

28 October 2011

Wise Sayings Of St Paul, Book review

Book description:

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."  —Galatians 5:22–23
Despite the passing of 2,000 years, the teachings of St. Paul are still as pertinent and applicable today as they were when they were first written. The apostle Paul stands in Christian history as a speaker, pastor, and theologian of unparalleled influence. His powerful exhortations and faithful encouragements transformed the early church and have continued to inspire people ever since. Here, his influential quotations include topics such as God's power and love, relationships, living a good life, and getting through hard times.
My review:

'Bringing together some of St. Paul's most incisive teachings, this motivational guide draws directly from his letters to the early church'.

With beautiful illustrations, including photos and stunning illuminations, 'Wise Sayings From St Paul' is a perfect little study guide and one of the finest I have come across. 
Just like my preview review called "Wise Sayings From Proverbs' this is soon to become an invaluable tool in your daily devotion routine!
In this powerful little book you will discover chapters such as God's Power, Relationships, A Good Life, Testing Times and God's Love each to motivate you and develop a better relationship with our Lord.

Ideal for giving to a loved one or perhaps someone you are trying to reach!

I found this one to be 5 stars material also!

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.

Wise Sayings From Proverbs, Book review

Book description:

"Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches."  —Proverbs 24:3–4
Exploring a range of issues—including the justice of simple living, decision making, and how to know God—and contrasting right with wrong, these ancient writings point us towards the best way to become closer with God and to shape our lives. Selections are beautifully illustrated, while topics range from wisdom to integrity and money choices to security.
My review:
'Wise Sayings From Proverbs' is what I would consider the finest pocket study guide I have had the pleasure to come across along with another one which I will review next, called 'Wise Sayings of St Paul'.

Most of us find that schedules and responsibilities does not always allow much time for lengthy devotion or daily studies but this particular format offered by Lion Hudson is perfect. Small enough to slip into a pocket or purse, each page can be reviewed in just a moment or two, giving you ample inspiration to meditate all day.

'Wise sayings From Proverbs' offers chapters on Wisdom, Integrity, Choices, Money and Security, each beautifully illustrated. With just enough inspiration to help us improve our sense of well being and devotional abilities, this is a powerful little book!
An excellent gift for someone you love or just trying to reach out!

Nothing else than 5 stars will do!
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.

26 October 2011

The Tale Of Baboushka, Book review

Book description:

Baboushka is busy with her house—she has so much to do. The late night arrival of three travelers at her cottage door interrupts her domestic routine of cleaning and polishing, and although she gives them excellent hospitality, she is relieved that they plan to travel on the following day. When the men explain that they are in search of a newborn king, Baboushka wonders whether to join them, but does not want to leave the house in a mess. Only later, when she sees the star and hears angels singing, does she realize she made the wrong choice. She hurries to take her own gift to the king but cannot find him. Tradition has it that she searches still, and wherever she hears the sound of children in a house, she leaves a secret gift.
A beautiful traditional Russian folktale for Christmas!

My review:

With Christmas soon to be here and my (never ending) interest in Children books, this review should not come as a surprise! 
There are wonderful stories out there for parents and children to share and the name 'Elena Pasquali' often appears, a name I have learned to recognize for the quality of her stories!

'The Tale of Baboushka' was written in collaboration with Lucia Mongioj and it is a lovely story guaranteed to delight anyone! Albeit aimed mainly for the 4 to 8 years old group, it is sure to be appreciated by the older folks (yes, us!) as well for its wonderful illustrations.
This is the perfect book for parents and grandparents alike to read out loud to little ones!

Childrens books such as the ones Elena Pasquali writes are not just  'pretty stories' but each also offers a lesson for little ones to learn.
Based on a traditional folk story, 'The Tale of Baboushka' is a wonderful Christmas story, a story of giving without any condition and one that is sure to reach little ones heart!

I give this one 5 stars of course!

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.

25 October 2011

A Moment Of Silence For Turkey...

The 7.2 magnitude earthquake which hit Turkey this week is leaving many devastated! It is winter there and many lit bonfires to huddle by as rescue continues.
So far 279 people have been reported dead and many more have been injured. Survivors are found but with over 200 aftershocks, Turkey is reeling from this earthquake! Shelter, water and food are needed for all victims!

The Knit Box has offered a link for anyone able to help! (www.globalgiving.org)
Please remember to offer a moment of silence and a prayer for all of those who are now homeless!

Blessings to all,

24 October 2011

All The Flowers, Book review

Book description:

Teri Ryan, a talented young singer with unshakable faith, opposes the Vietnam War on moral grounds as a member of her college’s chapter of the Catholic Peace Fellowship during the late 1960s. Her mission becomes personal when she tries to stop her twin brother from dropping out of college and joining the army to prove his manhood to their father. Supported by a pianist who has fallen in love with her, she struggles to maintain her nonviolent approach, but she is tempted to abandon it by the government’s violent actions against peaceful student demonstrators. In a dramatic climax her faith is put to the ultimate test.

My review:

Remember the words of 'Oh Danny Boy'?

'And when you come, and all the flowers are dying,
If I am dead, as dead I well may be In ',
You'll come and find the place where I am lying,
And kneel and say an Ave there for me."

In 'All the Flowers' Tom Milton shows readers there are many facets to any beliefs and you never know how you will react faced with circumstances such as the ones he skilfully describes!

I was a preteen living on another continent during the Vietnam war and whilst such periodicals as Paris Match and Life magazine clearly showed the horror of this war, it also reminded people of the courage of the countless soldiers who fought for this cause and died...
Many will offer their opinions on whom, what, where, when, how and why...It happened, right or wrong...
Let's just agree this was a very different war and it was fought on campuses as well as battlefields.

In his novel Tom Milton speaks of Kent State and Jackson State University shootings, of the undaunted convictions of young people who stood by their beliefs, Christians and atheists, of politicians with agendas, of victims whose only crime were to be at the wrong place at the wrong time...
With undeniable writing talent, this author weaves a magnificent story inter paced with actual facts and powerful words spoken on inauguration day...

'The greatest honour history can bestow is the title of peacemaker. This honour now beckons America - the chance to help lead the world at last out of the valley of turmoil, and onto that high ground of peace that man has dreamed since the dawn of civilization.'

'We see the hope of tomorrow in the youth of today. I know America's youth. I believe in them. We can be proud that they are better educated, more committed, more passionately driven by conscience than any generation in our history.'

'We cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at one another - until we speak quietly enough so that our words can be heard as well as our voices. For its part, government will listen.'

'Let us take as our goal: where peace is unknown, make it welcome; where peace is fragile, make it strong; where peace is temporary, make it permanent.'

'The peace we seek to win is not victory over any other people, but the peace that comes with 'healing in its wings'; with compassion for those who have suffered; with understanding for those who have opposed us; with the opportunity for all the people of this earth to choose their own destiny.'

'All the Flowers' is amazingly a story which reflects actuality yet it almost seems to have happen so long ago.
The Catholic beliefs reflected in this novel are the ones I believe into and I hope that in the circumstances I would have had no compulsion to join the students who protested such a violent conflict.
I was too young but not unaware. 
I also come from a military family so in the words of General MacArthur
'Duty, Honour and Country - those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you want to be, what you can be, what you will be.' 

'All the Flowers' is a story so real you will cheer, laugh and cry... You will either remember or discover an era you knew very little about but you will never forget! 
It is worth reading, and reading again!
A riveting novel! I shall now describe myself as a fan of Mr. Milton's work!

Note: I will caution however there are a few instances of profanity, thus making it more appropriate for mature readers.
I give it 5 stars 

I received this book free from BOOKCRASH 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.

21 October 2011

The Betrayal (Precinct 11), Book review

Book description:

Detective Boone Drake has just masterminded the most massive sting in Chicago history, bringing down the heads of not only the biggest street gangs in the city but also the old crime syndicate. The story is the biggest in decades, and the Chicago Police Department must protect the key witness at all costs. Despite top-secret plans to transfer the witness ahead of his testimony before the grand jury, an attempt is made on his life. And the person suspected of leaking this information may be one of the CPD’s own.

My review:

This latest novel in the Precinct 11 series starts off slowly but you soon find the plot gripping and it is a hard one to put down. In true Jerry B. Jenkins fashion, 'The Betrayal' is a story with rapid fire action but as always reflecting many family values and this is why I like to read his books!

Things are not looking good for Boone Drake. The injury he received whilst protecting former street gang boss Pascual Candelario, now turned good guy, will probably earn him early retirement but it is the last thing he wants right now. There is an informer amongst the Police department and it makes Boone all the more determined to remain on active duty.  The more so since it jeopardizes his attempt to get Candelario to a secure location!

Whilst CPD investigates this obvious leak, Boone's girlfriend becomes the prime suspect and it now it appears someone wants Boone out of the CPD for good.
Near exhaustion, Boone forces himself to find the source of this betrayal and the guilty party! His life and others depend on his survival skills!
Watch out for the climax!

A Christian writer who never compromise his faith, Jenkins has a knack for appealing to all sorts of readers and in the end, you know good will triumph over evil!

A perfect 5 stars!

I received this book free from TYNDALE 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 October 2011

Children Of The World...

Each morning the broadcasts brings us such sad news...Perhaps politicians around the world should let Children guide them...

(Note: The following was written by a poet named Hannah)

Some children are brown like newly baked bread
Some are yellow, and some are red,
Some children are black, there are White ones too--
The colors are different--the children like you!

Some children eat noodles, and some eat figs,
Some children like ice cream, and some roast pigs;
Some eat raw fishes, and some fish stew--
Their likings are different--the children like you.

Some children say yes and some say "Si",
Some say "wow!" and some say "naku!"
Their words may be different--the children like you.

Some live in huts of grass and bamboos,

Some live in boats, and some in igloos;
Some live in old houses and some live in new--
Their homes may be different--the children like you.

Some children are Finnish and some from Japan,
Some from Brazil and some from Sudan,
Some know bad weather or skies always blue--
The countries are different--the children like you.

Oh, if they could dance and if they could play
Altogether together a wonderful day!
Some could come sailing and some could just hike!
So much would be different--the children alike! 

 In the end, Children of the World are truly Tomorrow's Hope!

Blessings to all,

19 October 2011

A Necessary Deception, Book review

Book description:

When young widow Lady Lydia Gale helps a French prisoner obtain parole, she never dreamed he would turn up in her parlor. But just as the London Season is getting under way, there he is, along with a few other questionable personages. While she should be focused on helping her headstrong younger sister prepare for her entré into London society, Lady Gale finds herself preoccupied with the mysterious Frenchman. Is he a spy or a suitor? Can she trust him? Or is she putting her family in danger?

Readers will enjoy being drawn into this world of elegance and intrigue, balls and masquerades. Author Laurie Alice Eakes whisks readers through the drawing rooms of London amid the sound of rustling gowns on this exciting quest to let the past stay in the past and let love guide the future.

My review:

With 'A Necessary Deception, Laurie Alice Eakes introduces readers to her new series 'The Daughters of Bainbridge House'.
Set in the Regency era of London society it reminds us of a time when political tension betwixt England and France was strong. This was after all a time when Napoleon Bonaparte's Armies swept the European continent yet the Royal Navy ruled the seas, much to his chagrin.
Suspicion and distrust plagued many of the French emigres and spies were thought to be everywhere.

In 'A Necesary Deception' Laurie Alice Eakes brings us a glimpse of an elegant world complete with intrigues, drawing room etiquette, balls, mysteries, foreign spies and unsuitable suitors but somehow it fell short of my expectations. Her 'Midwives' series was after all well received and faithful readers spoke of fascinating historical background and intriguing characters.

Neither the young widow Lydia Gale or the Frenchman Christien de Meuse (living in England for 10 years seems to have a deplorable effect on his french articulation!) appeared as credible characters in this particular story however and the many extras added little to its development.
The plot in itself was enticing but as such provides little entertainment and confuses readers in its ultimate climax.

Regrettably I cannot say this is anything but a light historical novel to be enjoyed on a cold winter night, tucked by the fire perhaps with a nice box of chocolates to make it a bit sweeter!
I suggest you decide for yourself! After reading her first blog (here) and her latest one (here) there seems to be much more to this author than this one novel!
I gave it 3 stars.

About the author:

Laurie Alice Eakes grew up in a family of readers. Some of her earliest childhood memories are of being read to. She liked adventure stories the best. Once she started to read herself, she carried a book with her everywhere. When Laurie Alice was naughty (more than she likes to admit), her mother threatened to take her books away from her as a form of serious punishment. It worked. More (here)

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

I received this book free from BAKER REVELL* 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.

*Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life. They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet.

17 October 2011

I Must Always Remember to...

Have Faith...

The road to success is not straight
There is a curve called Failure,
a loop called confusion,
speed bumps called Friends,
red lights called Enemies, and
caution lights called Family
But if you have a spare called Determination,
an engine called Perseverance,
insurance called Faith, and
a driver called Jesus,
you will make it to a place called Success!!

 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly."
(James Langston Hughes)

And never forget...

 Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present.


16 October 2011

Reflecting Him: Living For Jesus And Loving It, Book review

Book description:

Reflecting Him: Living for Jesus and Loving It. Do you see Jesus in your daily life, or save Him for emergencies? God longs for you to spend your day with Him. The more you ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes, the more you recognize God’s hand on your life. As a result, you become His reflection. 
In ten weeks, through Reflecting Him, you will: Realize life is not about me, but all about Him. See daily applications for lessons learned from scripture. Understand how God is directing your life – often without you knowing it. Learn the importance of prayer in your everyday activities. Discover the joyful intimacy of a life filled with Jesus. Realize how your personal relationship with Jesus changes when you make Him part of everything you do and much more!

My review:

It took less than 10 minutes for me to realize Carla McDougal's 'Reflecting Him: Living for Jesus and loving it' would be an amazing experience provided I opened my heart, let the energy flow and forget all about the time frame!
I did it so well I completely forgot I was part of a tour blog!

Carla McDougal (check out her blog here) inspires others and challenges each of us to live a full life in His name! This Bible study covers a 10 week course and each week includes 5 days of personal reflections, scriptures, hidden treasures, a celebration of treasured gifts and a reflection pause sure to reach out to each of us. Her carefully selected illustrations are sure to appeal to anyone!

In this author you find a Mother, a Sister, a Friend and you feel yourself come alive and find countless dreams awakening! It is sure to make you feel whole and I very much enjoy the experience!
Personally I use a quiet time period each night to read in bed and I found myself anticipating the next installment! 
I would like to clarify this study is by no means aimed only at women!
Perhaps it is my upbringing but I have yet to reconcile myself to seeing women and men worshipping apart and children being relegated to a place other than the sanctuary! I believe families should worship together. How else can they share the Holy Spirit and enrich their lives?
My favourite: Week 4, Day 2, Here comes the Son! Unlike Carla I did not experience an eclipse whilst growing up (but now I cannot wait to do as she did!).
I found myself sharing with my husband the whole chapter as facts came to light and we soon perused definitions and scriptures together. (I have promised to loan him the book as soon as I finish the rest of Week 9!)

It remains for me to add I felt 'renewed'! This is an experience I recommend to anyone, it will enrich you!
By all means this is a 'keeper'! 

I give it 5 stars!

Note to Readers:

Reflective Life Ministries Online Bookstore, offers a  10% discount on this course and others books. Simply use the promo code: RHBLOG1
Meet the Author:
Carla McDougal

Authentic, humorous, and inspiring describe Carla McDougal, founder of Reflective Life Ministries and author of Reflecting Him. She truly believes laughter is the "medicine to the soul" that breaks down walls and removes the masks in our lives. As an international speaker, author and ministry leader, Carla encourages others to live every day for Jesus. Through her weekly blog, Carla's Corner, she motivates and challenges the reader with her devotionals and inspirational stories.

I received this book free from KATHY CARLTON WILLIS COMMUNICATIONS 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 October 2011

A Stocking Full Of Christmas, Book review

Book description:

Mark Stibbe writes: "This book has been written for anyone who wants to either recapture or capture for the first time the wonder of what this season celebrates." I'd like to propose that this book is a thesaurus, a treasure chest, of twenty years of lovingly accumulated wit and wonder to do with the Christmas story. Someone has said, 'to perceive Christmas through its wrappings becomes more difficult with every year'. Maybe with the help of this book something of the real meaning of Christmas will shine through."

My review:

You do not have to be a Christian to 'feel' Christmas! It is warm, it is bright, it is full of hope!There is nothing like 'The' Season and you cannot but feel drawn to it! Never mind all the festivities, the trimming, shiny baubles and so on...It is a feeling like no other!
Christmas is for EVERYONE! 
Some might disagree but the miracle of Christmas is that IT IS! 

The rational behind the reason for the Season might belong to Christians, but the love which emanates from this wondrous 2000 years old event reaches out to ALL! 
That's the gift of the Season! A little child was born and it changed everything!

With much wit and funny stories, scriptures quotes, anecdotes and comments from such well known figures as Dickens, C.S. Lewis, Philip Yancey etc...you will discover in this compilation some true festive gems!
Taking his cue from the alphabet, Mark Stibbe unravels for readers the true meaning of the Season as well as some of its funny moments. We are after all human and what better time than Christmas for sharing love and laughter? Too often we are stressed by the commercialization of the holidays and thus we loose our inner child self! 

Joy to the World People! Celebrate!

Here are a few examples of what is in store for you in 'A Stocking Full of Christmas:The Ultimate A-Z of Festive Gems':

- 'B' is for Bethlehem...Remember, History has a tendency to repeat itself! Story on page 17!
- "The phrases that best sum up the Christmas season? - 'Peace on earth', 'Goodwill to all' and 'Batteries not included'.
- In 'N' for Nativity, Mark Stibbe writes: 'The only person in history who was able to choose where to be born chose a stable'.
- 'Wise men still seek Him'.
- 'What if the three wise men had been three wise women? Well, they would have asked for directions and arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, brought a casserole and given the child much more practical gifts'.

Two of my favourites however are featured on pages 118 and 119 (anyone working as I did in Office Management is certain to have a big chuckle!) and 'Recipe for Christmas Joy' on page 122, priceless!

Riddle with profound comments as well as shining gems, you are sure to rediscover the wonder of the Season and enjoy this book! 
A keeper for sure!

I give it 4 stars!

May this wonderful upcoming season be everything you hope for!

About the Author:

Dr Mark Stibbe is the Director of the Father’s House Trust, a Christian charity dedicated to bringing the Father's love to the fatherless. He is a leading evangelical scholar and popular speaker, and author of many books! 

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.

13 October 2011

The Family Illustrated Bible, Book review

Book description:

An inspiring, insightful, and exquisitely rendered retelling of the Bible for the whole family!
Filled with vivid, full-color photos and illustrations
Easy-to-read text that describes biblical history clearly for all ages
Discover exciting facts about the people of the Old and New Testaments.
See the people, culture, and events of the Bible come to vibrant life through images and detailed biblical accounts. Examine a comprehensive map of the lands of the Bible, clear timelines, and other fascinating information found within the pages of Scripture, along with a thorough index. The Family Illustrated Bible is a treasure, beautifully inspiring generations to come. 

My review:

The Family Illustrated Bible, previously published as The Childrens' Bible, is indeed beautifully illustrated and has excellent photos. I must first clarify this is by no means a true representation of the Bible and as such might confuse even young children. 

There is no doubt the format and the contents will be easy for Parents and Grandparents to read out loud to younger children but again I am not sure an older child will actually find this particular publication anything else but entertaining due to the many colourful illustrations. Let me also caution you all stories should not be read to very young children!

That said, the featured biblical stories describe many historical facts of the Old and New Testament and offers a practical map of the lands of the Bible and includes some well know figures but also a few unusual ones for a book geared to the younger generation.

Overall, it would be helpful to some extent for homeschool teaching but it would not be my first choice.

I give it 3 stars.

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

12 October 2011

Rainy Day, Apple Scrumping and Sharing A Friend's Blog

Rain, rain and more rain...sigh...
Today is a day for lounging around, have a cuppa, read a good book, stop by a friend's blog and perhaps make an apple pie...

Since it is Harvest time and there are fresh apples aplenty, I decided to look into my usual pie recipes and instead found this one online which I must share!
I have never tried a no crust apple pie but it seemed easy and delicious!

No Crust Apple Pie recipe:

For the filling:

1 TBsp unsalted Butter
1 C fresh artisanal bread crumbs
6 good cooking  apples peeled, cored and very thinly sliced
the juice of one whole lemon and some grated rind
2 Tbsps demerara sugar 
2 Tbsps of flour

For the batter:

About 8 Tbsps melted butter (keep warm)
3/4 C muscovado sugar
1 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (I am not found of this spice so you might prefer to add a tad  more)
1/4 tsp freshly grated Nutmeg
2 large eggs
2 Tbsps of plain yogurt

To prepare:
Prepare a 9-inch spring form pan and grease generously.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet on medium heat. Add bread crumbs and saute until brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove and let cool.
In a large bowl, toss the apples with lemon juice, demerara sugar,  flour and set aside.
Now for the batter: 
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and muscovado sugar. 
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. 
Beat flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and add yogurt.
To assemble: 
Sprinkle the bread crumbs along the bottom and sides of the spring form.
Add apples slices, being sure to layer them along the edges of the pan. Pour the batter over the sliced apples, spreading evenly.
Bake at 165 degrees C (or 335 F) on a rimmed baking dish for about 70 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. 
Let cool at least 1 hour before removing the ring. 

 Bon appetit!

P.S. According to hubby, these taste even better when the apples were scrumped!

And now for that quick stop at a friend's blog, take a moment to read today's post at The Priest's Housekeeper! Reach out, Touch someone's life...Yes, a resounding YES! We need others! 
 Check out her photos, the second one is my favourite!

Blessings to all,

11 October 2011

Has God Spoken? Book review

Book description:

Compelling evidence that the Bible is God's Holy Word.
Using the memorable acronym MAPS, radio host and Bible scholar Hank Hanegraaff masterfully reveals four proofs that confirm the divine origin of the Bible.
  • M represents the strength of the manuscript itself as many actual fragments have been located
  • A stands for the archaeological proofs that have been uncovered
  • P is for the prophecy that has accurately predicted events
  • S represents the scriptural synergy found in the unity, consistency, and harmony of the sixty-six books
These clearly presented proofs provide powerful indicators that confirm the trustworthiness and divine nature of Scripture, that God has indeed spoken, and that the Bible is the reliable repository of His words.

My review:

Some of you might be familiar with the 'Bible answer man' on Christian radio or perhaps with the books Hank Hanegraaff has written. When it comes to bible topics he is very knowledgeable as many college students will attest!
In 'Has God Spoken: Proof of the Bible's Divine Inspiration', Hanegraaff's biblical knowledge manifest itself again with extensive historical facts, archaeological discoveries and countless research. You might not always agree with him, but there is no doubt this man is knowledgeable and speaks in such a way, you listen and found yourself living your faith!

In typical Hanegraaff fashion, he uses acronyms and personally I found it a very helpful tool to remember specific facts, keeping the information flowing, all in a clear and concise format!
'Has God spoken?' is the author's answer to anyone who questions the authenticity of the Bible and would prefer to think of its contents as yet another faerie tale. 
Hanegraaff believes with all his heart this is truly God's inspired word and uses archeology, predictive prophecies, manuscripts evidences and historical facts in a format readily understandable for all: the Bible is Divine!

With compelling evidences he demonstrates the Gospel of Mark was definitively written in a first hand account, the disciple witnessing many of the related events. As to the prophecies of Daniel, Isaiah and John, again Hanegraaff clearly demonstrates these were written as described in the bible.
Archaeological finds also shows that so called errors brought about by Scriptures copyists due to copies made from others copies are in fact style errors, not emanating from any deliberate cause or fatigue as some would have us believe.

Perhaps the most interesting factor in 'Has God Spoken?' is pertaining to Daniel's words regarding the abomination of desolation and the rebuilding of the Temple of Jerusalem. In this Hanegraaf shines once again when he reasons the abomination has already happened and Jesus IS the rebuilt Temple!

An excellent addition to any Pastor's library or interested Christian, this is a compelling book worth 5 stars!

Meet Hank Hanegraaff:

Hanegraaff is the author of several award-winning, best-selling books, including The Prayer of Jesus, Christianity in Crisis, and Resurrection, the latter providing a stirring and persuasive defense of the central event in Christianity. 
Resurrection and Christianity in Crisis each won the Gold Medallion for Excellence in Christian Literature awarded by the Evangelical Christian Publisher’s Association. 
More (here) and you might like to check also his blog (here).

I received this book free from BOOKSNEEZE 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.

10 October 2011

Love And Capital, Book Review

Book description:

Brilliantly researched and wonderfully written, LOVE AND CAPITAL is a heartbreaking and dramatic saga of the family side of the man whose works would redefine the world after his death.

Drawing upon years of research, acclaimed biographer Mary Gabriel brings to light the story of Karl and Jenny Marx's marriage. We follow them as they roam Europe, on the run from governments amidst an age of revolution and a secret network of would-be revolutionaries, and see Karl not only as an intellectual, but as a protective father and loving husband, a revolutionary, a jokester, a man of tremendous passions, both political and personal.

My review:

As a biographer, Mary Gabriel is indeed ranking high on my list of researchers! There is little doubt 'Love and Capital' is an amazing compilation intended to illustrate the life of the man behind the movement we call Marxism.
Of course Karl Marx is a name few people would not know but it is abundantly clear Mary Gabriel has uncovered much many of us never would have known otherwise despite learning something of his life and ideology in the course of studies.

A biography nothing short of brilliant, it is worth noting also 'Love and Capital' can be read as the incredible history behind the father of the birth of 'scientific' socialism or simply as a novel! It is also Marx's love story with the Baron's daughter.
With 594 pages, a list of impressive characters, a political timeline which should not be overlooked and not including the 110 pages or so covering acknowledgments and their copyrights, notes and bibliographies or the index, or the surprisingly extensive photos, this is not a light bedtime story! 
It is however the best source of information written in years on the subject of Marxism. I found it interesting that he lived for i.e. in Bruxelles and later loved to do his extensive research in the British museum!

Marx is best understood if one studies not only his economics, but also his theory of history and politics.
I found that reading Mary Gabriel's flowing accounts of his family's life, particularly his nomadic ways, brought to light the myth behind this legendary philosopher, revolutionary economist and leader. By all accounts and despite its many sorrows, this was a man who focused on living a full life!

That is not however to say, I espouse any or all of his thinking on socialism!
For the sake of arguments, we will agree that the economy in world  history is determined by current ideas and in turn, history keeps up with the phases brought about by various economic institutions.

I wanted however to understand something of the historical background of Marxism and in such a system involving people holding all property and goods in common. I can not conceive letting just anyone share my house, my car or anything else I call 'mine'! Loaning it would be something else perhaps with certain exceptions.
However thanks to Mary Gabriel excellent prose, I learned much more about Jenny and Karl Marx and have now reached a better understanding of what transcended of Karl Marx novel ideas during the years he lived abroad and his eventual influence on world figures such as Lenin.

George Bernard Shaw described Marx: 'He did the greatest literary feat a man can do. Marx changed the mind of the world.'

I would be hard pressed not to give a respectful 5 stars to this one! Bravo!

About Mary Gabriel:

Mary Gabriel was educated in the United States and France, and worked in Washington and London as a Reuters editor for nearly two decades. She is the author of two previous biographies: Notorious Victoria: The Life of Victoria Woodhull, Uncensored, and The Art of Acquiring: A Portrait of Etta and Claribel Cone.

I received this book free from HACHETTE 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 October 2011

Autumn Weather, Preserving and reflecting...

Autumn is here, rainy weather is 'de rigueur' of course in these parts and I only wish I could say the above canning jars were mine!
Somehow we were able to salvage a few veggies after 'feeding' those cheeky deer, pesky raccoons, even chinchillas (!) and of course fending off the never ending slugs due to the constant pacific rains! These went straight to the table and we enjoyed every morsels!
I do not think we saved much considering the cost of heirloom seeds but we all agreed we love the taste of 'homegrown'!

And since daily news reminds us the Economy everywhere is at one of its lowest, perhaps we should do well to get back to basics! It is nothing short of frightening when you shop and face yet another increase in the cost of food! Packaging however seems to decrease...Fancy that!

And Charity shoppes also reflects a blatant inflation so that one would scarcely step into one! 
Sad, I use to enjoy a trinket or two...

 (Painting by A. Albright)

The following is a wonderful recipe for 'Preserving Children' written by an Amish Mum. 
Absolutely lovely!

  • Take one large grassy field, one half dozen children, all sizes, one dog, one long narrow strip of   brook.  
  • Mix children with the other ingredients and empty them into the field, stirring continually.  
  • Sprinkle with field flowers.   
  • Pour brook gently over pebbles. 
  • Cover all with a deep, blue sky and bake in a hot sun.  
  • When children are well browned, they may be removed.  
  • Will be found ready to cool in the bathtub with lots of soap and warm water. 

Happy preserving!

06 October 2011

Thunder In The Morning Calm, Book review

Book description:

Lieutenant Commander “Gunner” McCormick is assigned as an intelligence officer to Carrier Strike Force 10, being deployed to the Yellow Sea at the invitation of South Korea for joint exercises with the US Navy. During his pre-deployment briefing, he discovers a TOP-SECRET MEMO revealing rumors that the North Koreans may still be holding a handful of elderly Americans from the Korean War in secret prison camps.
As it happens, Gunner’s grandfather, who was a young marine officer in the Korean War, disappeared at Chosin Reservoir over 60 years ago and is still listed as MIA in North Korea. Sworn to silence about what he has read, the top-secret memo eats at him. Gunner decides to spend all his inheritance and break every military regulation in the book to finance his own three-man commando squad on a suicide mission north of the DMZ to search for clues about the fate of his grandfather. Risking his career, his fortune, and his life, Gunner will get his answers, or he will die trying.

 My review:

Reviewing Don Brown's latest fictional suspense on this blog was a conscious choice!
As a toddler growing up during Allied occupation, I reenacted la 'Vielle Kwai' or River Kwai by covering my head with a 'gant de toilette" (washcloth) and sliding across the tub as commandos do...William Holden had nothing on me! I just could not pronounce  the R in 'Riviere, and called it 'Vielle' Kwai! 
Beware Parents of what you children perceives in their early years!

Seriously, Alistair MacLean was also a favourite during my teenagers years and 'Five years to Freedom', a loan from my sibling, was one of the first books I read in English! An incredible true story of the survival of an American  POW who despite countless atrocities never lost his faith, this book is one of my favourite!

'Thunder in the Morning Calm' is a Christian novel about American POWs, captured at Chosin reservoir and possibly detained in North Korea. 
Written by none other than the eloquent Don Brown ( ex USN-JAG), this is a story of duty and bravery but also filial love for one USN officer who risks everything to find out the truth behind the rumoured reports that elderly American POWs are still detained beyond the DMZ lines. 

Captured some 60 years ago these men have endured daily deprivation and unimaginable torture at the hands of their cruel adversaries awaiting their rescue. No Marine is left behind! 
But it is also the story of unsung heroes, the nameless Christians who work tirelessly to help others escape tyranny and keep faith alive in the most dangerous environment on earth, one riddled with countless danger, called the DPRK, or the land of Morning Calm! 

'All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing'
(E.  Burke)

Growing up as I did in a military family, I have always known that soldiers, Marines or others, believe no man should be left behind, dead or alive. POWs remain to date a controversial dilemma for many nations as politics requires a delicate hand in uncovering the truth. 
Nevertheless, this particular subject has always been close to my heart and like many in the seventies, I wore a bracelet to remind me of the USAF pilot who in the course of duty, went MIA over Vietnam. His remains were later found and are resting now in his homeland.
From the battlefields of WW2, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War and Afghanistan there is an alarming number of MIA servicemen whose fate is still unknown, too many families who are left wondering!
(National Alliance of POW/MIA Families see web site here)

Don Brown brings the readers the very possibility that these rumours are well founded and in his unmistakable flair, weaves a daring story of rescue based on his military background. 
There is a part of me that feels always a pull for such subject and I cannot deny I wish with all my heart such discovery and the ultimate climax could only be true! 
An amazingly detailed plot which true to form, will leave you holding your breath until its climax.

Let me add I give it 4 stars (the subject is well worth 5 stars but the editing made me revise my rating)!

Semper Fidelis!

For more on the Author:

Don Brown is the author of Malacca Conspiracy, The Navy Justice Series and Black Sea Affair, a submarine thriller that predicted the 2008 shooting war between Russia and Georgia. Don served five years in the U.S. Navy as an officer in the Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps, which gave him an exceptional vantage point into both the Navy and the inner workings of "inside-the-beltway" as an action officer assigned to the pentagon. He left active duty in 1992 to pursue private practice, but remained on inactive status through 1999, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
More here

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.