30 September 2015

Good Thoughts


(Photo source Google)

Sometimes on the way to your dream you get lost 
and find a better one!



29 September 2015

On Reading And Other Things...


As I have shared with readers this year has seen a few challenges in my life including a pesky eye problem which I am told cannot be diagnosed or cured...because of lack of research...

After seeing a fair amount of doctors, I have been told to learn to live with 'it' as no change has been detected. Easier said than done, the original problem remains and it has taken a toll on life in more ways than I ever imagine. No complaints though, there is worse but it upset my one favourite pastime...you guessed it, READING!

It would appear I must alter my banner from 'Book Reviewer'...Sad!

Still, KINDLE has been a lifesaver as I can adjust the print (providing I can keep at bay the recurring headaches...).
Thus I have been able to enjoy a few good books (particularly as I have been flying a lot lately and layovers are sometimes lengthy).

So here are a couple of titles I would like to bring to your attention if you enjoy reading:

The House By The Dvina: A Russian Childhood by Eugenie Fraser

  • ISBN-13: 978-1845965730

Synopsis:


The House by the Dvina is the riveting story of two families separated in culture and geography but bound together by a Russian-Scottish marriage. It includes episodes as romantic and dramatic as any in fiction: the purchase by the author's great-grandfather of a peasant girl with whom he had fallen in love; the desperate sledge journey in the depths of winter made by her grandmother to intercede with Tsar Aleksandr II for her husband; the extraordinary courtship of her parents; and her Scottish granny being caught up in the abortive revolution of 1905.
Eugenie Fraser herself was brought up in Russia but was taken on visits to Scotland. She marvellously evokes a child's reactions to two totally different environments, sets of customs and family backgrounds, while the characters are beautifully drawn and splendidly memorable.
With the events of 1914 to 1920 - the war with Germany, the Revolution, the murder of the Tsar and the withdrawal of the Allied Intervention in the north - came the disintegration of Russia and of family life. The stark realities of hunger, deprivation and fear are sharply contrasted with the adventures of childhood. The reader shares the family's suspense and concern about the fates of its members and relives with Eugenie her final escape to Scotland.
In The House by the Dvina, Eugenie Fraser has vividly and poignantly portrayed a way of life that finally disappeared in violence and tragedy.


What I thought:


I have always been fascinated by the Russian history and particularly the events leading to its revolution. This beautifully written autobiography will capture your imagination with its romance and dramatic developments. 

And it all starts with the author's great grandfather purchasing a peasant girl with whom he had fallen in love..
.
To note: the book includes many photos to recapture a world gone by!

One of the best books I have read lately and rating 5 stars!!


The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling



  • ISBN-13: 978-0316228589

Synopsis:

A big novel about a small town...
When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.
Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty fa├žade is a town at war.
Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils...Pagford is not what it first seems.
And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity, and unexpected revelations?

The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling's first novel for adults. It is the work of a storyteller like no other.

My thoughts:

I purchased this novel during a lengthy layover (that's what happens when you miss your flight!) and thought the story to be about Pagford, an idyllic village with colourful characters strolling amongst their cobbled market square, tending their little gardens etc...One look at the cover and I thought I was on a good thing...

Far from being the page turner I expected this one was disappointing. In fact it was hard to get into it and at 639 pages, more than I wanted to read. Those who are fans of the author and her work might well appreciate it but I can only declare it 'not my cup of tea'. I never bothered reading the Harry Potter series and fell asleep not one but twice through the movie...

To be noted: A movie was made of the book starring none other than the talented Michael Gambon so my suggestion is try that instead, it might make more sense!

I'll rate this one 3 stars!



Happy reading!



26 September 2015

When Calls The Heart: Heart Of The Family



  • Studio: Shout! Factory
  • DVD Release Date: August 4, 2015
  • Run Time: 88 minutes

OVERVIEW:
(From AMAZON)

From celebrated author Janette Oke (The Love Comes Softly series) comes a rigorous and romantic adventure as epic as the wide frontier. Erin Krakow (Army Wives), Daniel Lissing (Eye Candy) and Lori Loughlin (Full House, 90210) star in When Calls The Heart, "a beautiful story with roots in relationships, self-empowerment, and the enduring power of love", (Common Sense Media). 


Elizabeth returns to Hope Valley and immediately volunteers to look after a neighbor’s rural homestead… and his two children, an undertaking which proves to be a bigger chore than she’d imagined. But when Jack lends a hand, and they wind up chatting by the fire, all seems right in Hope Valley and the world. Meanwhile, in Hamilton, Bill Avery sets about busting a counterfeiting ring wide open, an endeavor which surprisingly leads him to Hope Valley, where he mysteriously declines Jack’s help. But Bill isn’t the only big-town visitor: Elizabeth is even more surprised to see her former suitor, Charles Kensington, standing right in the middle of her schoolhouse!


MY THOUGHTS:

Gather the family together (no electronics allowed), a cup of something sweet and warm and enjoy one of the latest episodes of this well known series!
Michael Landon Jr. directorial talents and Janette Oke's inspirational novel comes to life once more in this episode and the actors are so likable, you cannot but get into the story. In fact it is a toss between that beautiful Mountie uniform and the ladies' finery!

This is everything in one: a bit of romance, an adventure and a lesson for any of us: together as a family, we can overcome obstacles no matter how trivial or serious. 

This is one of those series which you might say is timeless, the scenery featured is breathtaking and the ladies' costumes continues to be a hit with any romantic! 

This one was a 5 Stars!


Michael Landon Jr. – Executive Producer:  Michael Landon Jr., son of the late television legend Michael Landon, has been in the film business for over 25 years.  With two of the highest rated films in the history of the Hallmark channel, and several top ten releases targeted to the Christian market, Michael has become known for creating heartfelt, inspiring films that connect to the family.  He has developed and/or produced, directed, and written screenplays for Fox, CBS, NBC, Disney, Sony, Lifetime, and others.

About Word Entertainment:  A leader in the music industry for over 60 years, Word Entertainment, a Warner/Curb company, is a unique, comprehensive entertainment company comprised of multi-faceted artist service departments including publishing, merchandising, booking, and online initiatives. Word Entertainment represents some of the top names and brands in music, including Meredith Andrews, Chris August, BarlowGirl, Francesca Battistelli, Big Daddy Weave, Jason Castro, Patrick Ryan Clark, Everfound, for KING & COUNTRY, Group 1 Crew, Love & The Outcome, Dara Maclean, Point Of Grace and Sidewalk Prophets and is home to 25 Entertainment, Word Distribution (representing Curb Records and Big Idea/VeggieTales among others), Word Print, Word Films, Word Music Publishing and Word Label Group’s Word Records, Word Worship and Fervent Records.


Disclaimer: I received a copy of the DVD courtesy of EDIFY MEDIA Inc. as part of the series promotion. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own. 





25 September 2015

Laughter, Imagination and Dreams...




Laughter is timeless,
Imagination has no age,
Dreams are forever.

~Walt Disney~



(Photos source Google)



23 September 2015

When Calls The Heart: Heart And Soul, DVD review


  • Studio: Shout! Factory
  • DVD Release Date: June 23, 2015
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • ASIN: B00UART216


Overview:


From celebrated author Janette Oke (The Love Comes Softly series) comes a rigorous and romantic adventure as epic as the wide frontier. Erin Krakow (Army Wives), Daniel Lissing (Eye Candy) and Lori Laughlin (Full House, 90210) star in When Calls The Heart, "a beautiful story with roots in relationships, self-empowerment, and the enduring power of love", (Common Sense Media). 


Further complicating their new romance, Jack and Elizabeth must part company so that Jack can return to Hope Valley and his duties as a Mountie. Elizabeth, however, remains in Hamilton, where she finds herself tending to her family and spending time with the handsome Charles Kensington. Meanwhile, back in Hope Valley, Rosemary has been offered a role in a play in San Francisco and makes preparations to leave with her two producers. When Jack learns that the "producers", have taken Rosemary in the opposite direction, for New York, he races after them to rescue her… a gamble that ends up being the talk of the town when they spend a night together


(Source Amazon)

My thoughts:

An Hallmark favourite with many to date who remember Little House On The Prairie sitcom, this series is inspired by Janette Oke's novel about the rugged Canadian frontier and produced by non other than Michael Landon Jr. 

So far each episode highlighted the life in a small frontier town which depend entirely on mining until the company proves to be guilty of endangering its employees and forced to close its doors. 
Enter a lumber company, new faces and of course new developments. Our heroes remain the amiable Mountie and the young socialite turned teacher, both ready to make a difference in the community.

An enduring series, When Calls The Heart: Heart and Soul is perfect for family viewing and offers a chance to chat about good Christian values without laying a heavy hand.

Heart and Soul episode features Elizabeth's family home and to spice it just a little, a childhood friend and suitor whom her parents believes perfect for her.
Will Elizabeth follow her parents wishes or her heart?

Exquisite costumes and great scenery sets the over all atmosphere and one can forgive the occasional overacting in exchange for clean language and no violence.

4 Stars!

Note: DVD includes exclusive behind the scenes interviews.



Disclaimer: I received a copy of the DVD courtesy of EDIFY MEDIA Inc. as part of the series promotion. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own. 





22 September 2015

Shame On That Employee!


We hear all too often bad news and shy away from listening to much more. That said, too much is at stake for us to ignore what is happening in the world. 

Like most of you I have my (listening) priorities and these ride for the moment on the subjects of the mass exodus of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq etc...and of course the arrival of Pope Francis in the US.  

I cannot imagine for a moment what these families have experienced as they flee their countries, often leaving loved ones behind, hoping to find a measure of security and a future for their children! My prayers goes to them!

As to Pope Francis, I find this man of peace the one true hope for our world! 

Injustice has changed the face of our Earth, and too often we believe it is not our responsibility to do something about it. 

I am certain Pope Francis will make a few people squirm in the next few days...

And now for Axel and his companion (see photo above): 

'Captain Jason Haag, a former Marine who served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was attending a gala for Service Dog of the Year in Los Angeles where his German shepherd, Axel, was awarded the top honor. 

Jason Haag and his wife were scheduled to fly home to Fredericksburg, Va. after the event but as they were boarding, an American Airlines gate agent reportedly pulled him out of the line, told the veteran the flight was full and demanded proof that Axel was a real service dog.'
(source HERE)

Really Folks? This honourable man served his country yet both he and his rightwing 'man' (Axel in this case) and family were subject to such indifference? 

For shame!

Note: I do not like to voice an opinion usually but this one felt like a good cause! Where would we be without our veterans and the men and women who serve God and Country!!



19 September 2015

Amongst The Broken Dreams...

Brian Skoloff, Thumper: In this Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, photo, Associated Press reporter Brian Skoloff pets "Thumper," a 70-pound lab, moments after the dog crawled out from beneath a crawl space of her owner's home, covered in ash and soot in a wildfire evacuation zone near Middletown, Calif. Skoloff returned the dog to his owner Lawrence Ross. Officials had not let residents return since the fire erupted about 100 miles north of San Francisco, scorching thousands of acres and reducing more than 800 homes to ash. Thumper survived among homes burned to their foundations and the five days she had been alone at the house that miraculously remained unscathed.

(Photo source © AP Photo/Brian Skoloff)

As one owner who thought her mountain cabin has gone up in smoke this Summer, I can only imagine the heavy heart of Thumper's owner when he thought her lost!

Officials no longer let residents return in Middletown, California, since the fire erupted Saturday about 100 miles north of San Francisco, scorching thousands of acres and reducing more than 800 homes to ash.
Amongst them a 76 year old man named Ross thought he lost his best friend...

When a journalist offered to check out the area, I imagine he never guessed the outcome!

As you can see in the above photo this Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, Associated Press reporter Brian Skoloff pets "Thumper," a 70-pound lab, moments after the dog crawled out from beneath a crawl space of her owner's home, covered in ash and soot.

You can read the whole story (HERE) and see Thumper on her way to be reunited with her master!

Way to go Brian!!



18 September 2015

For Lucienne


(Photo source HERE)

You probably know how it feels...Wherever you are, you find yourself yearning to be elsewhere...

SKYPE helps of course but it is not the same as being near your loved ones. And sharing daily news means you feel what the others experience and you want to help, knowing all you can do from afar is offer prayers and encouragement.

And sometime you are so thoroughly confused you need a little help...just to keep sane...

I found the above print and could not resist sharing: it features a Corgi and MAC the Corgi gave his seal of approval!

And now I repeat...again and again...


Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;

where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

and where there is sadness, joy.


(Source St Francis prayer)

Note: This post was written for a dear friend who only a few months after being the victim of a hit and skip accident (yes, the driver actually left the scene) and suffered countless brain surgeries as a result now slipped in the bathroom and broke a vertebra... 

Our prayers goes to you Lucienne!



17 September 2015

Ucommon: Find Your Voice, DVD review

Uncommon, DVD   -

Overview:

When the students of Rosewood High School lose their theater, music and dance departments due to budgets cuts, they create their own. Struggling to find the right script, music & choreography the students get advice from an uncommon source; the Bible!

Each student becomes uniquely influenced as they discover that God takes them personally. Equipped with unique talents, they bond together to prepare the perfect production by exploring the diversity of parables taught in the Bible. Fighting overwhelming challenges, the teens fight against political correctness to defend their privilege to worship, meet and perform.

Will months of constant bullying by the establishment defeat the production and dismantle their faith?Armed with expert legal counsel and unexpected help from Christian music’s finest, these teens realize what it means to be…UNCOMMON!




My thoughts:

Released on 1 Septembre 2015 Uncommon is definitively the sort of movie reminding you that we too often take the path of least resistance. Why else have we failed to oppose a school system where God has no place?
When do we take a stand for what we believe into? When do we fight back and really show our children what can be achieved when we 'love one another as He loves us'?

The story behind this movie is not the sort that will break the box offices by all means but you will remember and appreciate the earnest acting and familiar faces. The heartening message behind UNCOMMON will inspire anyone who believe in peace.  Our world has turned a blind eye on violence and bullying too often, particularly in our schools. Let's share this movie with any young adult to show them it is 'cool' to make a difference and fight for what is right!

A good family movie earning 5 stars! 





Disclaimer: I received a copy of the DVD courtesy of EDIFY MEDIA Inc. as part of the series promotion. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own. 



15 September 2015

75 Years Ago


They were very young,  they were incredibly brave and as Churchill said: "Never before in human history was so much owed by so many to so few."

It was 1940 and on that critical 15 Septembre, Royal Air Force pilots fought desperately to withstand the onslaught of the Lutchwaffe as they attempted to gain control of British air space.

Of these 2936 courageous young men, 544 lost their lives, many were killed in action, others were missing, never to be heard of again.

At war since 1939, Britain stood firm and never gave up despite the many losses of lives. Four months later, the longest single battle fought in the air was abandoned by Nazi Germany.

It took another five years for peace to return and too many dreams were lost.

(Photos source HERE)

Today we remember and salute these valiant R.A.F. pilots!



11 September 2015

We Shall Never Forget...


"The future beckoned and it looked promising. That promise was quickly dimmed, however, on a bright, sun-filled Tuesday morning in September when four airliners were hijacked.

Two of the aircraft struck the financial nerve center of America, one struck at the heart of the U.S. Armed Forces and the final airliner, allegedly aimed at the very head of our government, slammed into the Pennsylvania countryside.

On Sept. 11, 2001, nearly  3,500 people lost their lives in less time than it takes to watch the average movie. The world was changed forever."

(Photo source and excerpt HERE)

So much has been written about that fatal day yet how to express the bewilderment and sadness which follows...

In thoughts and prayers with the many families who faced such a tragedy,




07 September 2015

The Best Of News...


A simple phone call can bring such wonderful news...
Our mountain cabin made it through the wild land fires!

It was reported that firefighters brought a bulldozer to build a firewall, clear trees and brushes and thus prevent any substantial loss to our 20 acres.
We are forever in their debt! Their tremendous courage and thoughtfulness helped us to retain a little piece of paradise.

Thank you Folks and God bless!!!!







02 September 2015

Of Men And Heroes...


(Photo source Omak Chronicle)

It seems only yesterday I received news in Brussels telling me our mountain cabin was right in the middle of one of the worst raging fires in the history of Washington.
Thanks to a helpful British Airlines representative, I was able to change my ticket and I am now standing by to hear whatever news can be gleaned. So far, nothing can be ascertained.

One thing is for sure, whomever placed a sign above his or her home reminding our fearless firefighters that 'This is just a home, please save yourselves' was right on...

A heartfelt thank you to all firefighters and volunteers who are still fighting to contain wild land fires everywhere!
Our prayers goes to the families of Richard Wheeler, 31, Andrew Zajac, 26, and Tom Zbyszewski, 20, killed on 19 August.

More info (HERE)

Resident dog Gabby walks up a fire line after greeting a crew of firefighters from the University of Alaska (Fairbanks) behind as they work to hold the line against an oncoming fire near the dog’s home on Thursday near Chelan, Wash. (Fairbanks) behind as they work to hold the line against an oncoming fire near the dog’s home on Thursday near Chelan, Wash. (Elaine Thompson/AP)

(Photo source HERE)