30 May 2011

Memorial Day, A Day of Remembrance and A Moment of Silence

Today is Memorial day, a Day of Remembrance!
Let's observe a moment of silence and humility to remember the brave men and women who have sacrificed the ultimate price so that we may live safely in a World of Peace and never forget the true meaning of Freedom!
To the many who have fallen, you will never be forgotten!
And to all of you still deployed, come home safely and soon!

Blessings to all,

27 May 2011

Communion with Christ: Practical Prayer, CD Audio Set Review

Praying is something very personal and each of us develops our own way to communicate with Christ. And like many I like to find out how others go about...Yes, just plain curiosity on my part!
Catholic Company recently gave me the opportunity to review this CD Audio Set of 4 discs, each featuring 2 tracks called Communion with Christ, Practical Prayer. The first is always daunting and the second, well I like practical things!

Let's face it, from the lay person point of view, stress and often family challenges dominates our daily life and prayer is not always easy. I cannot begin to imagine how hard it must be for a Priest for i.e. with the  many responsabilities resting on their shoulders.

In this series Deacon James Keating takes us through step by step actions allowing us to come before our Lord and communicate our needs in a effective but simple way.
He speaks with quiet authority yet in a loving way which tugs at your heart and opens the door to understanding God's grace.

For each medidation there is a list of questions you may use for personal reflection or for family/group discussion. For i.e. What does it mean to pray in the name of Jesus? Where does Christian joy come from? 
Another favourite: How shall we understand true Christian healing and its relation to communion with Christ?

Communion with Christ: Practical Prayer would indeed be an excellent addition to any study group/Church library. It not only offers practical advice on how to pray but shows you also what to expect during praying time in relation to happiness and salvation.

I give this one 4 1/2 stars!

I received this book free from 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 Communion with Christ CD. They are also a great source for a Catechism of the Catholic Church or a Catholic Bible

Stars And Their Purpose, Book Review

Dr.Werner Gitt weaves an amazing amount of information in Stars and their Purpose - Understanding the Origin of Earth's "Nightlights". My first impression of this book was that it is geared for anyone interested in the stars, not just beginner astronomers but also backyard enthusiasts.
However there is so much more in Stars and their Purpose!
The introduction reminds us that Psalm 19:1-6 starts with: The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands...

Exploring the origin of our Universe from the "Big Bang theory" through Biblical Creationism, Dr. Gitt demonstrates his remarkable understanding of our universe. Using Old and New Testament passages, he clearly explains the order of the movement of planetary systems.
I totally immersed myself in the names of star systems, distant galaxies and black holes including the perfect balance of Earth, and the moon and sun system.
Dr. Gitt goes on to show this incredible star system could only have been created by a Supreme Being and clearly not just by accident!
This is truly a family orientated book and a perfect answer to the many questions younger family members are certain to ask about the stars, constellations, high tides and their particular effects upon the land.
Very well written, difficult to put down and extremely interesting, this book is translated from German into English by Professor Jaap Kies, Cape Town, South Africa.
A great addition to any family library, this one is a perfect 5 stars!

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

25 May 2011

A Distant Melody, Book Review

From everything I had heard The Wings of Glory promised to be an excellent series and I could not resist the first title!
I first read A Distant Melody's resume online and its appeal was such I entered a contest for the book (I was not a winner unfortunately) but I wrote a line to the author who graciously offered me bookmarks and postcards  for our local library! Sarah Sundin introduced me then to her blog Under His Wings and it has been a pleasure to "visit" many times over! 
The setting for the books in the series sounded perfect for me since I am an avid reader of WWII homefront stories, on both sides of the pond I might add! Anyone familiar with Hope and Glory will know how my husband grew up and being married for the last 36 years to this Ex RAF lad means I love reading about flying as well. 
In A Distant Melody, Sarah Sundin describes both the homefront and the combat zones with such minutious details you almost feel there! Here you will read about rationing and buying War Bonds as well as the not so well known challenges many of our mothers and grandmothers experienced in war time. 
But Sarah Sundin goes much further by introducing us in startling details to the lives of the flyboys who for love of Country and Freedom put their lives on the line and flew B17 and B24 on countless dangerous missions, some never to return home! 
However this is the story of people who do not shy away from their Christian beliefs despite the challenging times that makes this book truly special.

In the first book of the series you will enjoy discovering shy Allie who will do everything to please her parents including marrying someone she does not love only to discover God has another plan for her.
Lt. Walter Novak loves flying and trusts the Lord to keep him safe. During his last furlough he meets Allie and finds in her a kindred spirit. But all too soon he must fly his B17 crew overseas to fight the ennemy. Through their correspondence across a world entangled in ugly conflict he soon discovers his heart is hers only!
However commitments and secrets are unavoidable and only through their understanding of the grace of God will they learn to trust each other enough to share their true feelings.
This wonderful story was written in such a way that men and women will relate to it in some aspect and it will captivate readers, young and old alike. This is not just another romantic historical novel for us ladies and much has to be said about Sarah Sundin's research of the Bombers she describes so vivedly in her stories.
In this first book of the series, A Distant Melody is certain to strike a chord and no one will deny Allie's and Walter's feelings reflects the certainty we are all flying under His Wings.

Many thanks to Sarah Sundin for bringing back countless memories and wonderful tales of bravery! I am very much looking forward to read Book # 2 in the series, A Memory Between Us and Book # 3 coming out in August 2011, Blue Skies Tomorrow!
Her new series Wings of the Nightingale will come out in 2012!

Note: As always, a reminder: I was not asked to review this book and this post reflects only my opinion!

22 May 2011

How Huge the Night, Book Review

Publisher's description:
Fifteen-year-old Julien Losier just wants to fit in. But after his family moves to a small village in central France in hopes of outrunning the Nazis, he is suddenly faced with bigger challenges than the taunting of local teens.
Nina Krenkel left her country to obey her father's dying command: Take your brother and leave Austria. Burn your papers. Tell no one you are Jews. Alone and on the run, she arrives in Tanieux, France, dangerously ill and in despair.
Thrown together by the chaos of war, Julien begins to feel the terrible weight of the looming conflict and Nina fights to survive. As France falls to the Nazis, Julien struggles with doing what is right, even if it is not enough-and wonders whether or not he really can save Nina from almost certain death.
Based on the true story of the town of Le Chambon-the only French town honored by Israel for rescuing Jews from the Holocaust-How Huge the Night is a compelling, coming-of-age drama that will keep teens turning the pages as it teaches them about a fascinating period of history and inspires them to think more deeply about their everyday choices.

And now for my review:

Since this book is based on actual events, I was compelled to read it as soon as I received the opportunity to review it. Three nights later I closed the book and held my hand upon its cover. There is something that draws you to certain subjects for one reason or another...This one is particularly close to my heart and I am thankful to Heather and Lydia Munn for writing such a heartwarming book.

For many in Europe there is an undeniable hauntingness about the occupation. Much is still hush hushed about the ensuing period's deeds and thoughts. We see the invasion of countries most often through the eyes of adults. Through their stories we feel the loss of freedom and honour, we experience a hint of their helpleness as we learn of rationing and depravation, sometime imprisoning or disapearance...We remember the stories about the Resistance and whispers of good and bad deeds...

Seen throught the eyes of this small French village and their youth we are shown a different aspect of war, one which involves not just the adults but its young people as well. This is a time of conflict and choices have to be made.Theirs is a story of survival!
There is no right or wrong, good or bad when your life is on the line. Hope is all your have, the determination to live another day and ultimately to obtain once again your freedom! None are safe, danger surrounds and decisions must be made. Your only comfort, God is listening! Or is He?

Wonderfully researched, beautifully written, this is a story that will take your breath away. Honest, compelling, How Huge The Night is a book which you soon realize does not shy from the true aspects of occupation.
I found myself remembering an other time, harsh decisions and I will admit to having been near tears! War time occupation was nothing short of a difficult time to grow up!
Albeit geared to the younger generation I am told, I find this is a timeless story and I see no reason not to recommend to adults as well. 
A perfect 5 stars!

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.

20 May 2011

Spring Weather, Surprises and Balance

Spring is FINALLY here! Alleluia! This is indeed something to rejoice about it as we felt like ducks...it has been raining a lot this Spring and it was unusually cold for us! 

The slow start to our veggie garden means we will also have to keep our eyes open for good sales at country markets! Fresh Strawberry preserves sounds lovely at this time!

A Coastal Great Horned Owl has been a nightly visitor so I was not surprised to hear mice had discovered a way in under the bathroom floor...sigh...and a tiny squirrel was also spotted on a nearby maple tree...big sigh...

Today is one of those days when you try to balance things and please everyone...and make a mess of it...
so God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference...Please!!

19 May 2011

The Arrivals, Book Review

Publisher review:
It's early summer when Ginny and William's peaceful life in Vermont comes to an abrupt halt.

First, their daughter Lillian arrives, with her two children in tow, to escape her crumbling marriage. Next, their son Stephen and his pregnant wife Jane show up for a weekend visit, which extends indefinitely when Jane ends up on bed rest. When their youngest daughter Rachel appears, fleeing her difficult life in New York, Ginny and William find themselves consumed again by the chaos of parenthood - only this time around, their children are facing adult problems.

By summer's end, the family gains new ideas of loyalty and responsibility, exposing the challenges of surviving the modern family - and the old adage, once a parent, always a parent, has never rung so true.

And now for my review:

The Arrivals was everything I anticipated from the publisher's review and more! The biggest surprise of it all is that this is Meg Mitchell Moore's first novel and all I can think of to say is: Bravo!

When one reads a book is should be for either entertainment or knowledge. This one is definitively in the first category and I enjoyed every minute of it! This is the kind of novel some of us can truly relate to (when you are my age at any rate!)
The dialogues are vivid and expressive, the book develops as the script of a good movie and who knows?

The Owens quiet and peaceful life is challenged in more ways than one by the return of their children - and grandchildren - to the family's home.
Problems develops, emotions flies, difficulties arise yet through it all the family faces each challenge because they love each other no matter what. Theirs is a typical middle class family who just wishes for everyone to be happy and don't we all wish this as parents?

Perfectly flowing, this first novel is well written and a delight to read! I am looking forward to more of Ms. Mitchell Moore's work! Her book was at times funny and others sad but always enthralling! I will admit to want to read "just another page" when bedtime came.
An excellent book to pass on to your best friend and why not, your Mum or Dad!

I give it 5 stars!

I received this ARC free from Little, Brown and 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.

15 May 2011

Eretz-Israel, 15th May, 1948 And A New Beginning

(Beautiful Illumination by Arthur Szyk)

On the day the British Mandate over Palestine expired 63 years ago, the Jewish People's council gathered at the Tel Aviv museum and declared the establishment of the State of Israel. Shortly after, the United States of America recognized its statehood followed three days later by what was then the USSR.

Much has happened since but today of all days, let's remember the dreams and never forget the many displaced persons throughout the world who are still seeking shelter!

God is good, God is great!

The Sword Of The Lord, Book Review

 To change the future, you have to live a new story.

Biographies, personnal or family, have rarely posed any attraction for me but I thought Andrew Himes presented his book  in a very informative format. History always beckons.
The Sword of the Lord includes many interesting factual stories, historical pivoting moments and resulting human triumphs as well as failures.
There is a definite feeling of hope despite the struggles and the convictions we can triumph over adversity comes through clearly.

Andrew Himes recounts for the reader the history of his family and Fundamentalism in a faithful, beautifully written narrative. Tracing back his roots to the Scots-Irish times of the 1700's up to his own life was truly a labour of love.
We actually feel with him the pain of his family's trek from its early "Borderers" as he described it, a largely Presbyterian assortment of Scots, Irish, Welsh and English Yeomen through the Civil War and he does not shy away from letting us know the family owned slaves.
As Andrew tells his story he includes an amazing amount of details and research gathered on Christianity and the early Church in America, even its impact on politics. From presidents to Moral Majority, he includes every little detail which makes ultimately this book very good!
Definitively an interesting book!
I could not give it anything less than 4 1/2 stars!

Founded in 1934 by the author's grandfather John R. Rice, The Sword of the Lord newsletter was a very influential fundamentalist publication. Despite their differences, you discern a profound respect from the author for the man he calls "GranDad".

Note: The author will be speaking at 5pm PDT in Town Hall Seattle and it will be a live streamed event.
The Sword of the Lord is also published today 15 May 2011!

I received this book free from Chiara Press, Seattle WA 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 May 2011

Follow The Stars Home, Book/DVD Reviews

There are many reasons for which we choose to read a novel, all of them perfectly reasonable depending on whom we are, our location perhaps such as a holiday, daily commuting for some or just simple curiosity.
A few years back I happened to see a Hallmark movie called Follow the Stars Home and due to undeniable curiosity about the author herself, I added this particular title to my "wish list"...This wish list is in fact a little notebook I keep with me always listing all the goodies I hope to acquire somehow later, all items to be strictly purchased at one or another Charity shoppes!

Not all wishes come true of course (I am still hoping for an old convertible VW with automatic drive...) but when my husband found this book on some obscure shelf and waved it from afar, I just crossed it off the list! One down, a million more to go...

Luanne Rice published this particular novel in 2000 and has since written many more stories, all absolutely worth reading if they are anything like this one! The movie came out I believe in 2001 with the DVD release in 2002 and yes, I also own a copy of it!

What makes this story special for me were the feelings I experienced when I first saw the part played in the movie by Blair Brown. This was the perfect Mum and the ultimate GrandMother! Quiet, faithful, courageous, solid, funny, tender, feminin... I just had to read Follow the Stars Home and find out more. 
I was not disappointed! The introduction would have been enough! Somewhere I simply lost myself and felt a myriad of emotions that could only be inspired from someone as caring as Luanne Rice.

This is a story of love, courage, endurance, broken dreams but also wonderful and unexpected gifts! This is the story of a young mother who chooses to keep the baby she carries after being told of her little girl's birth defects. Despite her husband's careless rejection of this baby she already loves so much and his subsequent abandon, Dianne learns to survive with the help of Lucinda her mother and Alan, a faithful friend and pediatrician. Alan is also the child's uncle and he is in love with Dianne. Theirs is an unusual but incredible family who together meets every challenge and crisis resulting from this lovely little girl's declining health. 
Julia is not going to get better and time is so precious!
Luanne Rice's does not shy from recounting the daily struggles this young mother faces whilst caring for her beautiful little girl who comes to mean so much to everyone who loves her including Amy, her newfound friend. 
Amy is a lonely little girl who just wants to be loved. Her father died at sea, her mother suffers of deep depression and lives with her abusive boyfriend. Amy reaches out to Julia and forges a special bond with the little girl. Theirs is a friendship that knows no boundaries.
Throughout the story you will find yourself rethinking many emotions. This is not just a story about love and romance or wishful dreams, nothing is perfect and each character is aptly developed to remind you life is not a destination but a journey!

The movie adaption called for different locales and a change of names for certains characters but the overall effect does not change its haunting appeal.
On a final note, whilst reading the book I discovered Blair Brown's rendition of Lucinda is absolutely perfect and I think every mother's heart could identify at some point with her! 
The script for the movie itself was also co-written with the author and merits a round of applause! I found the actors selection to be grand and their performance flawless. Campbell Scott never disappoints!

I give 5 stars to the book and 4 1/2 stars to the movie!

Note: I was not asked to review this Book/DVD and therefore all opinions expressed are solely my own!

13 May 2011

The Whole Bible Story, Book Review

What a great idea, Bible Stories for grown-ups and based on everything that happens in the Bible!
As the front cover states it is written in Plain English so that everyone in the family can understand it.
Dr. Wiliam H. Marty has an excellent way of of blending the Books of the Bible into a simple everyday format which even children can understand, allowing for meaningful storytime for young children and helping them to understand biblical truths and principals.

Although most of us accept the birth of Jesus, some do have trouble accepting the concept of the virgin birth itself. Dr. Marty does a very credible job of helping us understand both the birth and childhood of Jesus.

The chapter contents at the beginning of the book is well laid out so that at a quick glance you will find the exact reference of a particular book or subject! For me the Book of Acts has always been a favourite!
The Bible is indeed the most beautiful story ever told and thanks to Dr. Marty's notable teaching skills, this book will allow you to rediscover with open heart, all of its mysteries!

(Dr. William H. Marty - Moody Bible Institute)

An excellent book for the family library, a thoughtful gift for Nursing Home Residents and Shut ins!
This is another 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.

The Reason Why, Book Review

Such a little book yet it has a tremendous impact when you read it and merited a bigger picture! 
Truly The Reason Why faith makes sense is an excellent book for both new and seasoned believers alike and like the title, the book itself makes perfect sense.

An updated version of the best seller written almost 100 years ago by Robert A. Laidlaw, this one reflects a fresh perspective on the original using not only modern language but also Mark Mitterlberg's keen insight on the latest discoveries in Biblical archeology.

As the name implies the author(s) give their interpretation of some of the most frequently asked questions by believers and non believers alike.
Questions such as "Is there really a God?", "Can the Bible really be true?", "Was Jesus truly the Son of God?" can be found here along with many more and all are answered intelligently throughout the book.

Well documented, expertly written and very helpful for those of us who still experience doubts about forgiveness and salvation, The Reason Why would make a perfect addition to any library!

I heartily give it 5 stars!

Note: Mark Mittelberg is a notable bestselling author and sought after speaker. Both he and Lee Strobel have been ministry partners for more than 20 years!

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

11 May 2011

Life, Dreams And Keeping Things In Perspective

(Sky News  - 11 May 2011)

Life such as it is! Anyone who has not heard of the budding politician, please meet Chris Whitehead who challenged school rules and requested the right to wear shorts instead of trousers in hot weather!
Both my husband and I grew up with school uniforms and we are still chuckling! Cheers for the lad!
We are afterall speaking daily of Global warming (or climate changes for some) so really Folks, I have no qualms about such an harmless request!

Just as I like to visit blogs which remind me of long walks along footpaths, leisurely afternoons teas in town and market days, I enjoy refreshing myself both physically and spiritually with blogs this side of the pond!

There is something so calm about Domestic Serenity and The Legacy of Home which invites an open heart, much love and peaceful days!
Somewhere along the last decades we have forgotten the simple pleasures our Mothers and Grandmothers found in keeping a home and caring for their family.

 Much can be attributed to the economy but there should still be time for simple things such as a sitdown meal with our loved ones, listening and sharing what the day brought to the ones we care for! 
Sunday drives might not be possible anymore (not with the cost of petrol!) but an afternoon walk whilst rediscovering our surroundings would be nice!

A board game involving the whole family instead of an electronic game, reading a good novel instead of watching the tele, a picnic instead of an outing to a (often dire) restaurant. 

Keeping things in perspective, I realize time is very precious these days and many of us cannot hang the laundry on the line, cook a 3 or 4 course meal or sew the whole family's clothing.
But we can still enjoy baking a loaf of bread or a favourite cake from scratch, plan a meal for our family and treasure bedtime reading with our children! 
Knitting (or crocheting) is so relaxing and easy to carry in a bag whilst commuting to a job, reading is such a wonderful way to excape if only for a few short moments and you really should experience the relief kneading a loaf of bread brings if only from time to time!
However we define life for ourselves, we can still choose to do all of these things without feeling we are tied to a stove! 
You might be amazed at all the rewards!

And for just one moment think of the therapeutical effect of hugs shared with everyone you care for and never forget to do it all in His name

Who knew?...
Life, Dreams and keeping things in persective...

10 May 2011

Buttercup, The New Rose?

Being always a dreamer (and feeling perhaps a tad homesick) I am always hungry for news of overseas. Sometime I will check out a lovely story about life in a small village (Brown Dog's Somerford), poise over the ramblings of a wonderful assortment of furry friends (Slow Lane Life) or I might just feel in need of a stroll through the city (Mrs. Miniver's daughter) and I am always amazed how refreshed I feel thereafter!

This time I must say Mrs. Miniver's daughter brought such a chuckle I must share it this side of the pond! I will start by telling you a few things about buttercups as in the flower of course. 
Most of us  remembers gathering a bouquet of buttercups in the country lanes for our mother I am quite sure! 
Blooming mostly around April and May usually, this little yellow flower is in fact part of the Ranunculus variety, has usually 5 little petals and is mostly remembered for its lustruous yellow colour.
As a little girl I was told the yellow colour of the butter was always more pronounced if the dairy cattle ate buttercups so I was surprised to read that in fact all Ranunculus are poisonous when eaten fresh by cattle, horses and other livestock. It seems the poison causes blistering of the mouth in addition to have an acrid taste thus it is usually left uneaten. 
Hm, perhaps that's why I remember all fields of it...

For those folks interested in folk tales, legend has it that in the Pacific Northwest Interior, this tiny flower is called "Coyote 's eyes". It is said in the Nez Perce tribe that the Coyote was tossing his eyes up in the air and the Eagle snatched them. Unable to see, Coyote made eyes from the buttercup.
I like neither coyotes or eagles as both enjoy killing! We have none of the first but the second certainly causes us countless griefs as it destroys our island songbirds!

Back to my buttercup story for this was truly too funny! It appears the world is going crazy all over! Imagine Buttercups being sold at the street corner flowerstall! One pound fifty for a bunch of buttercups and in Soho no less? According to the vendor, these "bouquets" sells very well!

I am not sure if we should applaud clever salemenship here or snicker at the ludicruous idea someone would actually PAY for such! 
Buttercup, the new Rose?
The economy being what it is of course, maybe there is a lesson here...
God is good, God is great!

08 May 2011

A Special Day for All Mums of the World!

Some of us celebrated Mothering Day 3 April 2011 and some will observe it today, 8 May! (and some of us celebrate both days!)

Did you know in ancient Egypt annuals festivals honoured Isis, the Mother of the Pharoahs and in ancient Greece, Rhea was worshipped as the Mother of the Gods?
In Rome, Cyblele was known as the Great Mother so perhaps we can trace Mothering Day to these origins. 

It is alo known that in the 1600's a clerical decree in England focused on a "down to earth" Mother's Day with the ensuing result families started to make Mum the guest of honour at a family feast. 
And in the US, President Wilson signed in 1914 Mother's Day into national observance.
We celebrate Mothering Day at different time of the year perhaps but we always remember her with flowers and candies everywhere!

To all Mums of the world, may you have a blessed day!
(Mother and child by Jungman)

04 May 2011

An Eye For Glory, Book Review

The Citizen Soldier: fearless in battle, industrious in peace.
(Inscription - Civil War Monument)

As we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, we read much of what both sides experienced and we recall the enormous toll of lost lives.
An Eye for Glory, the Civil War Chronicles of a Citizen Soldier is the story of one man who answers the call of duty leaving his wife to raise their three children.
Many years later he recalls for his children and others what it emcompassed to be a federal soldier in this terrible conflict and this is indeed where I discovered Karl Bacon's magnificent talent for storytelling!

Michael Gabriel Palmer is a recruit in the 14th Connecticut Volunteers who will soon become a seasonned veteran and with him we travel through muddy tracks, fight minor skirmishes and major battles. Along the way we feel his pain when losing friends, we experience the frenzy of the bayonnet charges when locked in hand to hand combat and we hear the screams of the wounded laying on the battle fields. With him we experience the daily struggles of the federal army facing an implacable enemy, the challenge of holding on to his beliefs while killing as many confederates as possible.
But ultimately this is a story about faith, loosing it yet finding God is always there even in the cruelest of time.
Michael Gabriel Palmer's story is to be experienced as the author describes what happened to this Citizen soldier!

Karl Bacon skillfully involves the reader whilst weaving each character into actual historical events and has a true gift for writing. Brilliant, emotional but always inspirational, this is a must read for anyone insterested in the Civil War particularly Civil War buffs! 
This is Karl bacon's first novel and a book I am sure I will return to time and time again!
It is nothing short of an amazing feat and deserves 5 stars!!

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

03 May 2011

Peace and a Wonderful Musician

Since the last ferry from the mainland is scheduled for 7pm it is somewhat difficult to enjoy a "night out". Not impossible of course but never the less, life is very quiet for us islanders! Happily we have a good stereo system, a DVD player, games and of course lots of books to entertain us (particularly when we loose the power!).

Last night as we listened to the news, we thought and prayed that never again shall anyone know the threats of terrorism. The 11th of Septembre 2001 will never be forgotten!
Perhaps because our flight to attend a concert was cancelled and rescheduled a month later due to 9/11, I felt compelled to reach out last night for something else than a movie and I remembered the loan of a Concert for Peace given by a young Jordinian composer. The Lord works in mysterious ways...

We decided that listening to the Royal Philarmonic Orchestra would be very enjoyable for the evening and thus we sat down and discovered an incredible musician!
25 years old  Zade is nothing short of amazing and a veritable pleasure to listen to! With his winning smile and gentle outlook on life, his One Night in Jordan Concert for Peace will reach out to you! A flawless performance, original music and with sensational musicians from around the world! Amongst them Pedro Eustache from Venezuela, Ramon Stagnaro originally from Peru and Gary Innes from the Highlands!
Dedicated to the memory of His Majesty King Hussein of Jordan, this is truly music to be enjoyed by everyone! Each track is a treasure!
Sent from the heart of such an ancient land, this message of peace will also introduce you to Jordan and will remind you this Middle East culture promotes values such as compassion and tolerance.

"Peace resides ultimately not in the hands of the governments, but in the hands of the people. For Unless peace can be made real to men, women and children, the best efforts of negotiators will come to naught."

His Majesty the late King Hussein of Jordan (1935-1999)

Together we can make a difference!

May Peace be with you always! 

A quick reminder of course this post reflects my opinion only and no remuneration was involved.

02 May 2011

While We're Far Apart, Book Review

Lynn Austin is a wonderful writer who blends actual historical events in Christian fiction for which she has rightfully won many Christy Awards
It has been a pleasure to read Hidden Places, Until We Reach Home, A Woman's Place and, set in the Civil War era, Candle in the Darkness, Fire by Night and A Light to my Path
Each of Ms. Austin's novels offers such a depth you cannot but immerse yourself in the characters and the many challenges they encounter. Their hopes and dreams becomes yours!
In While we're far apart, you will discover once more her aptitude for storytelling, set against the background of WWII and the homefront in Brooklyn and following closely the war progress.

Penny is a young naive New Yorker who has always been in love with Eddie, her next door neighbour's son and now a widower. She offers to take care of his children when he enlists in the Army in the hope he will finally notice her.
Raised by over protective elderly parents, Penny has no idea what caring for the children involves and meets with resentment from the oldest and silence from the youngest. A Christian, Penny finds herself also living in the Jewish Brooklyn neighbourhood and discover through Mr. Mendel, the kind Jewish landlord, a whole new world. 
Mr. Mendel lost his wife through tragic circumstances and has no news of his son and his family living in Hungary. His faith is challenged in many ways yet the hope of one day being reunited with his loved ones carries him on. 

In this book, Lynn Austin paints a vivid portrait of Jewish faith during WWII, both on the homefront and in the war zone. Her detailed description of Brooklyn in the 1940's, the rationing, the endless wait for news from overseas along with the historical facts she interweaves into the plot are spellbinding.

You will find yourself drawn to this wonderful story, and following its intended path, will experience once again a richness in its ultimate culmination that can only be attributed to faith!

This is one Christian novel I highly recommend and I give it a 5 stars!

Please note I reviewed this book and share my own opinion whilst recieving no compensation of any kind.

01 May 2011

May Day, Lily of the Valley and lots of dancing

Today is May day, a time when we share a small sprig of Muguet or Lily of the Valley with loved ones! I remember my Grandfather hiding a sprig or two for Granny in his overcoat. At 6ft 3 he must have felt very selfconcious carrying it perhaps but he never forgot and she treasured this moment always.

It is of course also Labour Day for most of us!

Originally from Japan Lily of the Valley was first introduced in Europe in the Middle Ages and was regarded as lucky by the Celts.  King Charles IX of France is thought to have begun the tradition of giving a small sprig of Lily of the Valley to ladies of the Court on May 1st each year after he received a small nosegay as a token of luck and prosperity in 1561.

On this first of the month of May, villagers would wake up at sunset and roam the countryside to gather blossoms and greenery. A maypole would be set up on the village green and decorated with field flowers. Singing and dancing around the pole whilst accompanied by a Piper, villagers would celebrate the beginning of the planting season afterwhich they would select a Queen!
This lovely custom is still kept in some areas thankfully.