29 April 2011

Myrtle, Lily of the Valley, Sweet William, Ivy and Hyacinth

Much will be written about the Royal wedding today but I thought to just take a look at the bride's bouquet.
It is said it contained Myrtle, Lily of the Valley, Sweet William, Hyacinth and Ivy. 
A myrtle planted in Osborne House's garden in the Isle of Wight by Queen Victoria in 1845 provided a few stems and a sprig from a plant grown from the myrtle used in Queen Elizabeth II's wedding bouquet in 1947 was also included.
When given a nosegay containing myrtle by Prince Albert's grandmother, Queen Victoria had a sprig planted against the terrace walls at Osbourne House where it still thrives today and thus the tradition of carrying myrtle began.

As to the meaning of the wedding bouquet flowers:

-Myrtle symbolizes Marriage and Love
-Lily of the Valley promises the return of Happiness
-Sweet William shows Gallantry
-Hyacinth presents the Constancy find in Love
-And Ivy represents Fidelity, Affection and Friendship

A very good choice indeed and God speed!

P.S. I think everyone would enjoy reading the following! (Well written and with impeccable taste!)


28 April 2011

Paradise Valley, Book Review

There is something irresistible for a dreamer such as myself when an author introduces a book as "inspired by actual events" followed by one of its character's statement "I would do a great many things for you." 

The first reached out to my thirst for history and the latter...Which one of us would not admit to a slight quickening of her/his hearbeat?
I have always liked Amish stories perhaps because we lived for a long time in Amish Country. I never quite forgot the clip clop of the horse pulled buggies passing by our log cabin. 

Well known authors such as Beverly Lewis, Cindy Woodsmall and Suzanne Woods Fisher of course have helped to promote delightful stories based on Amish lives. 
This was my first encounter with Dale Cramer's writing and I was not disappointed. He delivers what he promises.

Paradise Valley is a tale of faith, honour and courage in the face of adversity but also love and dreams. 
This is the story of one Amish family who chose to move to a foreign country when faced with a 1921 new Ohio law allowing the authorities to forcibly remove school age Amish children from their community and placing them in public schools.
Caleb Bender and his family establish their new homestead in the Sierra Madre Orientals, miles away from the nearest town and learning a new language whilst uphelding their beliefs in the Ordnung and preparing for the coming of others like them. 

Dale Cramer acknowledged his concerns to this wife about writing such a novel particularly when writing about Amish women and their hopes and dreams.
Admitting he knew nothing about women, he was rewarded after 35 years of marriage by three words: "You're absolutely right".

Rest assured Dale Cramer offers in Paradise Valley a wonderful knowledge of the Amish community and their beliefs combined with a touch of the West similar to Louis L'Amour's writting and enough romance to make any female reader enjoy his delightful novel.
This one reads like a box of chocolate...One is definitively not enough!
I give it 5 stars!

I received this book free from BethanyHouse 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 April 2011

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

When the rain keeps on falling, there is nothing better than baking something sweet and reaching out for a cuppa. This is definitively one of those days!
Perhaps we will see sunshine and warmer temperatures next month! At least I hope so!
I thought today was a good day for Banbury...as in Banbury cakes/tarts and a bit of trivia!
Most everyone is familiar with the nursery rhyme:

Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross,
To see a Fyne lady ride on a white horse.
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
She shall have music wherever she goes.

The well known rhyme became a favourite with children throughout the English speaking world and was in fact first seen in print in 1784
And for history lovers, Banbury, situated in Oxforshire, had three beautiful crosses, the High Cross, known also as the Market Cross, the Bread Cross and the White Cross. Sadly, on the morning of the 26th of July 1600 the Town Council decreed the High Cross should be destroyed and the other two followed its fate shortly after.
As to Banbury Castle, built in the year 1135AD,  an 18th Century painting shows two towers rising above houses to the north of the market place but nothing else is left of it.
The town of course is famous for Banbury cakes, these delicious flat pastries with spicy currant fillings made from recipes dating back to 1586 or even earlier!

This is the recipe I use:
  • 1 cup chopped raisins
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • Pastry for two double-crust pies (9 inches)
  • 1 cup icing sugar

 To make:

In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Stir in walnuts. Roll out pastry to 1/8-in. thickness; cut into 48 3-in. circles; moisten edges with water. Put 1-1/2 teaspoons filling on half of each circle. Fold other half over the filling; press edges together with a fork to seal. Cut a slit in top of each tart. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 375° for 13-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Sprinkle icing sugar over cooled tarts.


25 April 2011

Deeper Kind of Calm. Book review

Reading a Deeper Kind of Calm, steadfast faith in the  midst of adversity gave me just that, a CALM feeling. There is nothing in the world such as the feeling, I AM NOT ALONE!
Identifying a problem is one thing but understanding and accepting what happens in my life has always been the challenge. And finding a solution is what matters of course to most of us.

I knew nothing of Linda Dillow when I first agreed to review this book but it seemed to reach out and I was not disappointed.
Her book has an easy to read format for even the busiest one amongst us and her four week bible study will allow you to reflect on those ups and downs in your own life. It does not however deal with the "why is this happening to me?" 
Acceptance is the beginning of the healing afterall.

In times of trial we are often reminded to have faith, to count our blessings instead of delving in our shadows.
Only a few days ago I spoke of pilgrimage and here too Linda Dillow speaks of pilgrimage as a journey to a sacred place, in this case the presence of God.
As in Psalm 84, our Valley of Weeping can become a place of blessings, our Journey can be blessed and God's presence is indeed real. Something else I learned: "As the blessing of His presence becomes mine, I can become a blessed one". 

I found her writing to be at times witty, at others even sad but always honest. Her insights cannot but create a lift in your life and would be particularly good for small groups to share. We all need a friend!
Linda Dillow reminds us  that "It is good to read a book or go to a retreat and hear the Word of God but transformation really comes when we get in God’s Word for ourselves."

So let's have a little faith and take a deep breath...With Him, anything is possible...
I give this book a 4 stars.
I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not asked to write a positive review and the opinions expressed are entirely my own.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

24 April 2011

Easter Blessings

"The birth of Christ brought God to us, but it took the cross of Christ to bring us to God."


Blessings to all!

22 April 2011

The Sacred Journey, Book Review

Once again Charles Foster has penned an excellent book, this time about his own Sacred Journey while relating wonderful stories about fellow nomads and travelers around the world.
Written in a flowing and easy to read format and superbly edited to boot, this is one book you will not put down until finished!

The Sacred Journey, the final book in the Ancient Practices series
, reminds us that it is the journey that matters, not the destination.
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" said Lao Tzu. Ultimately such a journey reflects also our own spiritual discovery about ourselves.

In the first chapter of the Sacred Journey is included an interesting historical view of Pilgrimage, leading us on a narrative that begins with the first nomads to present day travelers.
How would you prepare yourself for such a journey? What would you take with you?
In Matthew we read "Take no gold, silver or copper, no bag for your journey, or two tunics, sandals or staff".
Charles Foster agrees you do not need much. He shares he himself carries a copy of The Odyssey (excellent choice!) and a small zip up Bible albeit perhaps out of habit.
Items such as an extra shirt or socks are more than enough as it can be washed.
What you will take with you depends of course where you are going.

So imagine yourself undertaking such a journey, as the first pilgrims often did through unchartered territory, facing countless challenges yet meeting others like you, in search of the most Sacred...
Charles Foster has once again given us food for thought!

All of us are in fact on a journey, and for most of us this is a journey through life itself as we provide for our families and ourselves. But a pilgrimage is also a journey to the ultimate oneness as the author points out.
Each of us yearns for more for we are born nomads, searching constantly for something different, something better. As urban dwellers we soon stiffle however the wonderlust within us.
There are however amongst us those who follow in Jesus' footsteps and wander through the mountains and the wilderness on their own sacred journey...
As Jesus said to his disciples: "Follow me".

Ultimately pilgrimage changes people, physically and spiritually and what a journey it can be...

On a last note, there is an excellent study guide and wonderful notes included in the book.
The more to help you on your journey!

I cannot but give this one 5 stars!

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

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

21 April 2011

The Final Summit, Book Review

When Booksneeze offered the possibility to review this latest book of Andy Andrews I immediately acccepted.
I very much enjoyed The Heart mender which I also reviewed here.
The 11th of April (posting schedule) came and went and I will first tell you, this is one book not to be rushed.
Andy Andrews has this particular knack for involving the reader body and soul in his books!
The Final Summit
was a hard one to put down and I was not disappointed: I very much enjoyed reading it!

"Many years have passed since David Ponder discovered the Seven Decisions during a divine journey through time. Now 74 years old, Ponder has lost the one thing that mattered to him most—his wife, Ellen. Despite his personal and professional success, he now sits alone at the top of his 55-story high-rise contemplating the unthinkable, just as he did 28 years ago.

However, just as things are looking their darkest, Ponder is informed through divine channels that he is needed now more than ever. This is mankind’s last chance. Millennia of avarice, pride, and hate have sent humanity hurtling toward inevitable disaster, and far from its original purpose. There is only one solution that can reset the compass and right the ship—and it is only two words. Ponder, along with a cast of famous historical figures, must work quickly to discover this solution. The fate of the world rests on their shoulders."

This is a book I recommend you read slowly and ponder upon. Andy Andrews's faith and knowledge of History, his very definition of human tendency's to ignore certain signs and rewrite this history to make it easier to understand will make you think again upon what you thought you knew about our world!

"What does humanity need to do, individually and collectively, to restore itself to the pathway toward successful civilization?"

Here is the question: When Time is running out and you must decide what to do when you do not know what to do... Which of the Seven Decisions would you think the most important? (no hinting, you must read it and discovered for yourself!)

But I will tell you however my favourite...From Union Colonel Joshua Chamberlain who hastily wrote the words, "I am a person of action" on a scrap of paper.

Clearly, this is a book you must "experience" and Andy Andrews has woven a well written story that will leave you indeed pondering. Each chapter will inspire you to involve yourself and add your name to the "personal declaration"!
Time travelling in itself is of course always enticing and meeting other travellers whom might find a way to change the world...Oh the Dreams...

Finally I will recommend heartily the Author's notes and the reader's guide to help you of course to discover even more about other Travellers...Who knew?

I give this one 5 stars!

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.

18 April 2011

The Beginning of Holy Week...

Jerusalem is a city perhaps never most thought of than during Holy Week and for Christians, this is a time to reflect on Christ's passion and death, pray and for many, fast and do penance.

During the Middle Ages the nobility would cease all secular activities and spend the days of Holy Week often in seclusion in a monastery to reflect on this special time in the liturgical year.
Farmers stopped working their land, artisans would lay down their tools, public offices would close and all music and dancing were banned.

The three days following Palm Sunday are still devoted in many countries to a thorough cleaning of the house following an ancient tradition for Easter. It is believed this custom reflects the ancient Jewish practice of a ritual cleansing of the whole house as required in the preparation for the Feast of Passover.

Praying is to welcome God's presence within our heart, something akin to God's family room within us, a place to relax with God.
Praying also before bedtime especially with young children is the perfect time for heart prayers. Just closing your eyes and inviting God in your heart, a quiet time for all at home even for just a few minutes.

This is a time for cleansing, a time for preparation, a time to reflect...
Thus begins Holy Week...

17 April 2011

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday, the first Sunday of Holy Week within Lent is a time we remember Jesus' triumphant arrival in Jerusalem. The Jews welcomed Jesus as their King and sang "Hosanna to the son of David; Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"

It is also called Fig Sunday because traditionally figs were eaten on that day to memorialize the fig tree cursed by Christ after his entry into Jerusalem.
In England Palm Sunday is also called Olive or Branch Sunday and sometime Sallow or Willow, Yew or Blossom Sunday or even Sunday of the Willow Boughs.

And in Hereford and Worcester it is still customary after morning church services for Priests to pass out also Pax cakes and say: "God and good neighbourhood" or "Peace and Goodwill". This tradition goes back to 1570 and was in fact established by a local landowner in preparation for Holy Week.

Pax Cakes Recipe:

Beat one egg.
Add and beat until smooth:
1 cup sour milk or buttermilk
2 tablespoons salad oil
½ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup wheat germ
¼ cup white flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon soda (Baking)
½ salt

Grease a heated skillet or griddle. Pour batter from jug onto the hot griddle in
3 to 5 cm diameter dollops. Turn the pax cakes when bubbles show.
Heat on the second side until brown.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon if desired.
Makes 30-50 pax cakes.

Blessings to all...

16 April 2011

A Sign of Spring Surely...

Everyone will agree I have no doubt, it has been a long dreary Winter!

There are blooms on the trees and we spotted a Rufous Hummingbird by our dinning room window yesterday so surely Spring is here?

Mountain chickadees have recently also shown themselves around the bird feeder and perhaps the Rufous feels at home. Observing them has become a favourite pastime along with handfeeding the deer of course.

I was told the photo above is that of a hummingbird's nest and I will be on the lookout for such a wonder this Spring. Such a tiny creature at 7.5 to 13 cm long, Hummingbirds live approximately 3 to 5 years and can fly at a speed exceeding 34 miles/hr.

If you are lucky enough to be able to attract them around your house with either nectar and - or lots of flowers, you will marvel at this lovely creature!
In 2004 two 30 million year old hummingbird fossils were identified after resting for decades in a museum drawer in Stuttgart. Apparently it had been dismissed for many years as Hummingbirds were thought to be found only in the Americas!

And did you know that Geoglyphs in Nazca, Peru includes a Hummingbird? The Nazca lines are found in a 30 mile area of the desert and can only be appreciated from the air as this 250 feet long hummingbird aerial picture shows.

Drawn possibly by moving surface stones and gravel aside to reveal the lighter soil underneath it is believed these spectacular geoglyphs could be attributed to the Paracas people and dated betwixt 900 BCE and 630CE.

Enjoying my hummingbird and learning just a little bit more....What dreams...

14 April 2011

Mail Distribution and Pony ExpressTrivia

For the folks who just stopped by, no deliveries are made on our island. Going off means food shopping, picking up supplies for either gardening or house repairs, with prerequesite library stops and the posting - picking up - of mail and parcels all this whilst observing ferry time schedules!
This bi-weekly trip (due to petrol!) allow us to post parcels as needed, this time to three different parts of the world, and I am always thankful the budget stretches a little bit more for "just one more parcel"...There is no doubt in anyone's mind - particularly my husband's - I enjoy preparing these thus I am being forgiven for the extravagance (I hope so)!

Considering USPS costs these days and the (often) delays we experience in receiving our post, the Pony Express service would have been just as fast!
Mail posted from the UK or Japan takes only 5 days to reach us yet a lettre sent to the MidWest from the Pacific coast will in fact take 7 to 8 if you are lucky...
Posting parcels let's just say comes under the headlines "confusing" and "dire"...Delivery ETA uncertain!

Mail distribution via the Pony Express was in fact faster! From April 1860 to October 1861 the Pony Express operated 157 stations along their route with 10 miles of rough riding betwixt each post.
Including the mail pouch weighting 20 pounds each rider carried an additional 20 pounds of material such as a water sack, a Bible, a horn to alert the next relay station master to prepare a fresh horse and a choice of weapon.
In addition, a rider could not weigh over 125 pounds and changed horses every 75 to 100 miles, riding night and day. And sometime a rider would ride over 20 hours if an emergency arise...
Riders for the Pony Express received $25 weekly....

(Map of Pony Express Route in 1860)

Westbound lettre carried on 3 April 1860 by Pony Express! It arrived in San Francisco on 14 April 1860 at 1300 hours!

Eastbound lettre sent on 3 April 1860 by Pony Express from San Francisco, estimated delivery 10 days later in St Joseph, Missouri!

The first pouch included 49 lettres, 5 telegrams and assorted papers and yes, it was dire at $5 for each but consider this: the mail arrived (proofs shown above)!
What an amazing feat considering we have lost numerous lettres and parcels in 2010 alone!

Now for more bad news...The USPS is raising (once again) their rates on 17 April 2011...

12 April 2011

150 Years Ago...Or So They Say...

(The Friendship or autograph quilt in LeMoyne star pattern, 1849)

On the 12th of April 1861, Confederate batteries opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, S.C. thus started the Civil War...

History books have offered many arguments for one side or the other. Only yesterday I browsed through much information regarding Missouri as I happened to be a
Soldier's Angel for one of its sons. I have never been there and I simply wanted to give myself an idea of its cultural and mostly historical background. I was surprised to hear of Missouri's role in the origin of the Civil war.

'The political conflict betwixt the North and South took shape in 1819 when Missouri applied for admission into the Union to become a state because the territorial laws of Missouri recognized and embraced slavery.
Two years later they finally became a State.'

'A boundary between the Free States and the Slave States was extended betwixt an existing line originally laid out to settle a 1750 border dispute between Pennsylvania and Maryland. It was referred to as the Mason-Dixon Line, named for the two British surveyors who establish it (1763-1767).'

So it appears my history book was incomplete and I learned something yet again...

From Bob Dylan I also learned the lyrics to a song called 'Cross the Green Mountain:

...In the deep green grasses/And the blood stained woods/They never dreamed of surrendering/They fell where they stood/.../A letter to Mother/Came today/Gunshot wound to the breast/Is what it did say/But he'll be better soon/He's in a hospital bed/But he'll never be better/He's already dead...

Whatever the actual reason, the Civil War was a time when people rallied for whichever cause they believed in and for which many lost their lives.
So many dreams shattered...

Yet we should always remember no matter the differences which separated both sides, people fought to make this beautiful country such an incredible Nation.

The image that comes to mind is a quilt, made of small parts and bonded together as one! The Missouri History Museum titled their Quilts collection: From a Common Cloth...
How appropriate!

09 April 2011

Nerve, Poise Under Presure, Book Review

As pressures surrounds us, finding poise and serenity under stress amounts to quite a tour de force!
Who amongst us has not felt pressure at one time or another? Fear can indeed upset the best of plans as we all know it.

In Nerve, Taylor Clark explains the myths surrounding fear, stress and anxiety using extensive research cases and shows us a way to steady our nerves and increase confidence.
The way we perceive events leads us often to a "case of bad nerves". Uncertainty is in fact the one most stressful, even brutal, test military training agencies uses to teach their recruits resilience. Some recruits retain an amazing amount of mental clarity despite the psychological and physical abuse they experienced whilst others neurological response to the abuses is certain to see them fail.
Actors such as Laurence Olivier for i.e. described how his throat would constrict when on opening night, a sudden dread would take hold of him. Yet he learned to deal with the strife, never letting anxiety deter him from his calling.

Taylor Clark shows us that if we accept fear and anxiety, we can in fact live with it. He includes in his book an easy to follow list of advice and for more in depth help, a great suggested reading section in the back of his book is included.
If I disclosed more of course, you would not have to read the book. I can tell you however that breathing exercises is on the list and since I am a tad anxious myself at this moment, I will make use of it right now!

This is in no way a "let's fix quickly this" book but like most of us, I feel reassurance just knowing I am not alone and there is a helping hand for those nerve wracking moments!

I received this book free from Hachette Book 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.

08 April 2011

Transforming Prayer, Book Review

Daniel Henderson points out that most of us have trouble with our prayer time and personally, I must admit he is absolutely right.
In Transforming Prayer he lists the many distractions we encounter daily such as family and job responsabilities, noise, emotional stress or as too often these days, financial difficulties. And yes, we find excuses and do not make time for praying.
After 25 years of full time pastoral ministry experience he has now inspired prayer-based revitalization in several larges churches. He also speaks to thousands each year at conference and prayer events and I was intrigued.

When we spend time in prayer God only asks that we give him our heart with all our soul and with all of our mind. Yet Christians pray from a "grocery list" as Daniel Henderson puts it.

In Transforming Prayer the author shares the difficulties he himself faced as he sought out what he describes as God's face, not his hand. As he overcame these problems he also realized how much he could share with those of us who are still struggling.
Daniel Henderson lays out a practical way to seek out God and truly transform prayer time so that we may overcome all the barriers we put in the way of enjoying a profound spiritual fulfillment.
Using praise, scriptures and actual quotes of very special people such as St Agustine, the Apostle Paul or W. Bingham Hunter to name a few, he gives us a step by step guide which cannot but transform our heart as well as our prayers.
Here is a direct quote:
All true prayer
Exists for the glory of God,
And is
Based in the worship of God,
Focused on the face of God,
Shaped by the Word of God,
Inspired by the Spirit of God
Offered through the Son of God
Aimed for the Will of God
Experienced by true children of God.

Well written and with an easy to follow format aimed to any individual or small groups, this is perhaps the best I have seen on the subject and a great addition to any family library.

I give it a resonning 4 1/2 stars!

I received this book free from Bethany House 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 April 2011

13, Rue Therese, Book Review

As my eager fingers reaches out for a new title in a book shoppe, I often hear Granny say "Souviens toi, ne juge pas un livre par la couverture!" (Remember, do not judge a book by its cover!). But I cannot always resist! Visuality is very appealing, particularly for the appetite!
And when I first heard of 13, Rue Therese and actually saw the website I simply found its appeal irresistible!
The cover, format and the photos included (see here) have such a lovely fresh approach I just could not resist it. Reading the following notes form the Author just hooked me:

'When I was a little girl growing up in Paris in the early eighties, an old woman who lived a few floors up from my apartment died alone. Her name was Louise Brunet. None of her remaining relatives came to fetch her belongings, so the landlord had to clear them all out. He let the other tenants in the building scavenge through her stuff and take home silverware, jewelry, whatever they wanted. My mother salvaged a small box filled with mementos: old love letters from WWI, mesh church gloves, dried flowers, a rosary—many objects worth nothing but memories. This box is the sepulcher of Louise Brunet’s heart. As I have carried it through life and across the world, I have always intended to write a book out of it. '

In this, her first novel, Elena Mauli Shapiro tells us the story of an American Professor who finds in his Parisian office a mysterious box containing old letters, faded photos, gloves, rosary, brooch and even a silk scarf...
As the story progresses these items will help the reader to unravel the compelling but mysterious puzzle of Louise Brunet's life through two World Wars, leading us and the soon smitten Professor, into her very intimate world of love, passion, regrets and countless memories.

You cannot but feel drawn in the story due to its novelty approach of course. I will add it is a sensual experience in itself discovering Louise's thoughts and actions through Trevor Stratton, the Professor and his increasing attraction to his lovely secretary, Josianne another protagonist in this story.

There are some instances of deep emotional rawness in Shapiro's description of Louise and Trevor Stratton's imaginations which might not make it acceptable by everyone.
However this well written narrative can only be experienced through the intensity of Louise's feelings as the author described it, sometime sad, sometime hopeful and at times even naughty.

As a first novel and with such an intriguing story Elena Mauli Shapiro's 13, Rue Therese is bound to captivate many readers!

I give it 4 stars.

I received this book free from Hachette Book 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.

04 April 2011

Clement and the Early Church of Rome, Book Review

I like to take the safe approach to most things in life but there comes a time when nothing else but take the jump will do. This is one of those times!

Given the opportunity to review this particular book, I could not pass it as like most of us interested in the Early Church, there is still so much for me to be learned.
I will say first of all this is an intelligent written compilation of historical facts showing clearly an amazing amount of research. And yes, despite the challenges of reading it and researching these facts, I had a hard time to put it down. The Appendix and the Selected Bibliography alone are a treasure of information!
Reverend Herron's approach to an earlier dating of I Clement Epistle to the Corinthians is nothing but convincing and certainly thought provoking!
Many historians agrees that I Clement was written circa AD 95-96 yet Reverend Herron lists events and dates showing it could well have been written as early as AD 69-70.

Originally printed in 1988 and republished by the St Paul Center for Biblical Theology this book will challenge scholars and laypersons who believe this letter was written after the fall of the temple in the year AD 70.
In fact though the letter was written after the deaths of the Apostles Paul and Peter, the author sets out to prove that Clement was very familiar with the workings of the Temple and writes seemingly in the present tense as he describes rituals such as offerings and sacrifices for i.e.
I would imagine he certainly would not have written this way if the Temple had already been destroyed thus reinforcing the thought, however provoking, that the letter dates prior to AD 70.

Albeit not a scholar and having little knowledge of Theology myself, I find this book to be a fresh approach to what might well remain an excellent conversation topic...What if?...

I give it 4 stars!

I received this book free from The Catholic Company 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.

Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Clement and the Early Church of Rome . They are also a great source for serenity prayer and baptism gifts.

02 April 2011

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: A Novel, Book Review

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is one of the titles I spotted in a magazine whose review just hooked me! I have a penchant for choosing books based on actual events, people or facts and I will admit I feel just the same when it comes to movies as well.

Jaimie Ford is a name I had never heard of prior to the article. Our obliging local library provided a copy of his book within a few days thus I was able to satisfy my curiosity. I started reading the first few chapters and decided not to look him up on the Net perhaps so as not to be influenced by his background should it be involved somehow.

As I read the very last line and closed the book, I felt a warm and peaceful feeling for Henry and Keiko's story. Intelligently written, this is a perfectly flowing book about a bitter sweet time for two young people living in a time of war often riddled with incomprehensible rules and cruel regulations.
It is also a story certain to be enjoyed by anyone willing to believe hardship can be followed by a rainbow if you look hard enough for it!
I will always remain a daydreamer...

This is a book about filial duties, honour and innocent love, enduring friendship, prejudice and courage. I am constantly amazed by the sheer tenacity humans displays in the face of adversity!

The story starts in 1986 in Seattle Washington when a Chinese American widower named Henry Lee sees a crowd outside the Panama Hotel, originally the gateway to Nipponmachi. Boarded up for decades, the hotel is purchased and soon to be reopened. Its basement reveals a cache of belongings of Japanese American families, those often forgotten who were rounded up and sent to interment camps at the onset of WWII.
As Henry looks on, a small parasol is being opened and a world of sweet and bitter memories rushes back, taking him and readers to wartime Seattle and the story of two young people who find love despite their prejudiced surroundings.

I appreciated the description of a beautiful city and its International district, my imagination trying to see it as Henri and his friend Keiko would have experienced it. I particularly like Jaimie Ford's honest and clear views of the feelings of all parties involved.
This is a story you will immerse yourself into and walk with Henry along 40 years of longing.
The most welcomed aspect of Jaimie Ford's book is that you should not give up dreaming and with faithful friends and family at your side, life can be a wonderful journey!

Reading the acknowledgements I finally discovered some of the author's background, along with the thoughts of a caring family man whom we hope will continue to suprise us!

Thank you Jaimie Ford for introducing us to the world of Henry and Keiko, Sheldon and Mrs. Beatty, the Okabes, the Lees and innocent love in a time of war!

I give it 5 stars!

Please note as always, this review reflects only my opinion and I was not asked to review this book by any publisher.