31 March 2013


Rejoice! He is risen!

Jesus loves me, this I know;
The Easter story tells me so.


30 March 2013

Holy Saturday...

On Holy Saturday the Church waits at the Lord's tomb, meditating on His suffering and death.

29 March 2013

Good Friday

Behold, the long-awaited Messiah, hanging on the wood of the Cross between two thieves. The two hands which blessed humanity are pierced. The two feet which trod our earth to proclaim the Good News are now suspended between earth and heaven. The eyes full of love, whose gaze healed the sick and forgave our sins, now gaze only heavenward.

27 March 2013

A Place In The Country by Elizabeth Adler, Book review

Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (June 19, 2012)
ISBN-13: 978-0312668365


Fifteen-year-old Issy, and a newly-single mother, Caroline Evans, are struggling to find their way alone, as well as together.  At thirty-eight, Caroline is coming to terms with this new life, even though she has little money and all the responsibility for the two of them. 

When she decides to leave their well-off lives in Singapore (and her cheating husband and his long-time mistress and powerhouse),  she ends up living in an English village pub, cooking dinners to earn enough to get by on; meeting unexpectedly quirky people, and making friends.  But Issy still adores her father and secretly blames her mother for their change in life.

When Caroline’s dream of restoring an old barn into a restaurant finally begins to come true, her chance at happiness hangs in the balance as whispers of murder and vengeance find their way to her.  When Issy, hovering in that limbo between girl and young woman, begins to make some dangerous choices, the stakes are raised even higher. 

A PLACE IN THE COUNTRY is filled with emotions that every woman will recognize as Caroline and Issy make their way in the world and do battle with those who would wish to see them lose their chances to gain their hearts’ desires.

My thoughts:

There was a definite interest on my part after reading MYSTICA's review (HERE) of 'A Place In The Country'!
This is a complex tale of love, both romantic and filial, covering two continents with multiple characters, each more intriguing than the other with at the centre of it all, women or in this case a young divorcee, her fifteen year old daughter and even a fun living grandmother.

Caroline Evans has recently ended her 16 years marriage, leaving her cheating husband in Singapore and taking along their fifteen year old daughter Issy, short for Isabel. A prenuptial agreement has left her with little to live on and she takes refuge with her parents for awhile in London. Cassandra and Henri however are moving to France and Caroline realizes it is time to start living again! First order of the day is finding a job as her ex is not regularly paying child support. Second, adjusting to single life and parenthood as Issy misses her dad and her friends. As a typical teenager, Issy's character is right on!

Call it fate or karma but while taking a weekend off to relax the pair ends up in a Cotswold's country lane in which Caroline stumbles on an old barn for sale, complete with a sign of 'Bar, Grill and Dancing'. Perhaps she could open her own restaurant? After all, once upon a time she graduated from culinary school...
Dismissing her mother's as a whim, Issy is rebelling of course wishing for both of them to return to their past life in their luxurious penthouse in Singapore.

We now come to two memorable characters in this plot: Jesus and Maggie, husband and wife team, owners of the local pub and would you believe, Mexicans? Tacos and Ploughman's platter on the same menu? 
On a typical English wet and dreary evening, they welcome a distressed Caroline and morose Issy in their Cotswold pub and into their lives with open arms. Their daughter Samm is an immediate hit with Issy and soon the two teenagers are inseparable. 
To repay Jesus and Maggie's kindness, Caroline works in the Pub's kitchen delighting the villagers with her tasteful cooking, including a chicken pot pie to die for and one villager in particular, who despite their difference of age, hopes to know her better ...

Just as Mystica hinted, this is not your typical English country tale for we discover mayhem is about to descend on the little Cotswold village in the form of a Far East murder and Caroline and her friends are soon playing sleuths 'Poirot' style.
The exquisite balance reflected in the multi faceted emotions of each individual in this tale gives an amazing twist to rights and wrongs in life. In 'A Place In the Country' Elizabeth Adler clearly excels in her ability to describe a romantic moment only to hit on reality right after. 

A heartfelt story for women of all age, reminding each one of us us living means after all taking the good and the bad together! Trust me, Caroline, Issy and Cassandra do it with flair!

My first read by Elizabeth Adler, and by no means, the last!

I give it 4 stars. 
My reason(s): Adult thematic contents including some expletives and an attempt to sexual crime leading me to recommend it for mature readers only.

About the Author:

Elizabeth Adler is a self-confessed romantic, a travel addict and a foodie, all of which she brings to the reader in her novels, along with a tough thrust of suspense and an unfolding mystery that keeps you on your toes. Elizabeth has lived in many countries and when she's not writing spends time discovering even more places to bring to you, with her husband, Richard - still in love after all these years - as are the characters featured in her past three novels, Mac Reilly the Malibu PI and Sunny Alvarez, his lover and side kick. You have to read about them to know them!
Elizabeth lives in California and has the ability to take you to all those romantic places she knows so well, Capri, Venice, Tuscany, St. Tropez, Monte Carlo, and of course, Malibu. You will feel you are there, with her, sitting on that Italian terrace, sipping that coffee, smelling the delicious food, savoring the heat and the sunshine and the mystery unfolding for you. 
Elizabeth is five-three and wishes she were taller, blind as a bat without her glasses that anyway she is too vain to wear, and at 128 lbs till thinking about that diet. She has one daughter, Anabelle who is married to rock musician Eric Avery and two kitties, the Siamese, Sweet Pea who rules the household, and an adorable black cat Sunny. 
Would you like to know more? Be sure to stop by her website (HERE
Note to Readers: As you will remember, unless stated otherwise reviews reflected only my opinions!

Has Anyone Else Heard of Brolga, The Kangaroo Mum?

Meet Chris 'Brolga' Barnes, a 6' 7" Australian, a loner who dedicates himself to being surrogate mum to baby kangaroos orphaned in road accidents who has supplanted Crocodile Dundee as the most popular Australian folk hero in Britain.

For those of you who wander about his unusual name, Brolga is Aborigene for Stork. Fitting!

Brolga, who gave up on city life 20 years ago for a shack with a 10,000-square kilometre backyard, still cleans tour buses in Alice Springs to fund his sanctuary for joeys, which despite being only 15 minutes from town is in the middle of nowhere.

"They're my family," he said. "A lot of people think I'm a crazy person but that's not true. I'm just a person who's found something that's really important to him."

Want to know more about this amazing man and his kangaroo family? There are two videos on Tania's blog (HERE) for you to see, each almost an hour long and worth  checking out!

A big thank you to Tania of 'OUT BACK' for bringing this to my attention! 

26 March 2013

Come Along With Me...

 Spring is here but snow is still falling in the Mountains!

Daily beachcombing...But what is this? 
Invaders Alert, Mum!

Nothing more than seagulls enjoying our first rays of sun...

May I, Mum? Please??

And when the tide retires...

Pebbles brought by the glaciers and shells worn by the surf...

See, I can be good Mum! 

I'll leave readers today with this quote:

"Properly trained, a man can be dog's best friend.'
(C. Ford)

I hope I am!

25 March 2013

Learning To Love by Heidi and Rolland Baker, Book review

Publisher: Chosen Books (February 15, 2013)
ISBN-13: 978-0800795528


Missionary Leaders Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Glimpses from Africa!

Continuing where their book Expecting Miracles left off, this narrative draws from the last five years of the life of Iris Ministries. Woven alongside fascinating narrative from Mozambique is teaching from Heidi and Rolland that communicates the distilled wisdom about the heart of the Gospel from all their years of serving the poor.

More than any of their previous books, this one has the most to say about what Rolland and Heidi have learned about love--whether in Africa or wherever home might be: finding intimacy with Jesus, concentrating on the humble and lowly, being willing to suffer for love's sake, finding God's supply of utterly needed miracles, and walking in the unquenchable joy of the Lord. Every reader will find incredible challenge and refreshment in these pages.

My thoughts:

'Learning to Love' reflects a true love story, one that you will identify immediately with Jesus' love as shown in His earthly ministry! Make no mistake, Heidi and Rolland Baker are two exceptional people: nothing and I mean nothing will stop them from doing God's work, not even opposition from the world's evil side!

As both husband and wife relate heartfelt stories, some humourous, some sad, each one compelling you to see God's work through them, you will feel their amazing love for their fellowmen. 
Healing and faith pours out of them as they continually rescue babies, reach out in His name to help heal the blind, the deaf, and even hear the dumb speak.

Co-founders of Iris Ministries, this incredible duo brings hope and care to thousands all over Mozambique, providing daily care for no less than 10,000 children. Their extended network includes over 10,000 churches, Bible schools, primary schools and remote outreach programs. 
What a joy for them that many converts become ministers, lay preachers and teachers working all over the world!

Their message:

LOVE IS food and comfort to a ten year old amputee, abandoned on the side of the road.

LOVE IS a new roof for an elderly widow installed before the rainy season.

LOVE IS sharing hope with the homeless man on your street corner.

'God is not just moving in distant lands and if you are willing, He will do amazing things through your love when you stop for the one in front of you, it is that simple!'

A book to experience and reach out in HIS name to those who need YOU!

5 Stars for its message, none better presented than today, the first of this Holy week!

About the Authors:

Heidi and Rolland Baker, founders of Iris Ministries, served as missionaries in Indonesia and Hong Kong before following God's call in 1995 to Mozambique. In the face of overwhelming need, the Bakers now watch God provide miraculously for well over 10,000 children every day through their ministry, and many more through the Iris network of more than 15,000 churches, Bible schools, primary schools, and remote outreach programs. They live in Mozambique, Africa. 

I received this book free from BETHANY HOUSE PUBLISHERS & CHOSEN BOOKS as part of their blogger review program. 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. 

24 March 2013

And The Bells Will Ring...

Today is Palm Sunday and for Christians all over the world, the beginning of Holy Week.

In Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris there is to be another celebration when the bells will tow: During the aftermath of the Revolution, the French Republic 'ordered the removal of some 10,000 bells from the belfries of France to be melted down and made into cannons and coins.
A 13-ton bourdon bell named Emmanuel, the biggest bell of the cathedral, remains to this day, but the other nine were destroyed, later replaced by a set of four bells that Parisians have cursed for more than a century.
In the coming days, Emmanuel will get new company, a set of nine new bells, eight of which were cast by Cornille-Havard. They will ring from the 850-year-old cathedral in time for Palm Sunday Mass.'

(Source HERE

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.

(Previously posted in April 2011)

May His light shine upon you and yours always!

23 March 2013

The Song Remains The Same by Allison Winn Scotch, Book review

Publisher: Berkley Trade; Reprint edition (December 31, 2012)
ISBN-13: 978-0425253359


She’s a wife, a sister, a daughter…but she remembers nothing. Now she must ask herself who she is and choose which stories—and storytellers—to trust. One of only two survivors of a plane crash, Nell Slattery wakes up in the hospital with no memory of it, or who she is, or was. Now she must piece together both body and mind with the help of family and friends who have their own agendas. Although Nell can’t remember all that came before, something just doesn’t sit right with the versions of her history given by her mother, her sister, and her husband.

Desperate for a key to unlock her past, she filters through photos, art, music, and stories, hoping that something will jog her memory, and soon, in tiny bits and pieces, Nell starts remembering. . . .

My thoughts:

I think I expected something entirely different based on the plot outlined in the synopsis. Allison Winn Scotch writes at the present tense, and for some reason my brain functions much better in the past!

As one of the two survivors of a plane crash, Nell is diagnosed with dissociative amnesia or as I learned, her brain blocked the trauma due to the stress. In search of the past, she comes to trust her instincts, believing her family is hiding something.

From the beginning I found myself trying to understand Nell's attitude towards life in general as she is trying to recall bits and pieces of her past but she is so anesthetized for a lack of a better word, she hardly seems human!
At times wistful, others shallow, 'The Song Remains The Same' unfolded itself as a study of all that is wrong with society these days, the "I'm the only one who matters here' syndrome, and to say it was engaging would be an exaggeration. I was at least spared the original purple cover!

There are some loose ends in this story which also detract from the original plot line leaving me (and others?) with questions particularly in view of the abrupt end of the novel. That's it?

Still, I try to place myself in her shoes and follow 'Operation Free Nell Slattery' but with no other direction to distinguish it from dire self analysis, Nell's search for the past proved to be anticlimactic at best.

3 Stars!

Note: Due to Adult thematic contents and strong language, for mature readers only!

About the Author:

Allison Winn Scotch is the bestselling author of THE ONE THAT I WANT, TIME OF MY LIFE, and THE DEPARTMENT OF LOST AND FOUND. Her fourth novel, THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME, will be released in early 2012. Prior to delving into fiction, she was a frequent contributor to numerous magazines and websites including Cooking Light, Men's Health, Fitness, Glamour, and Redbook, and now focuses on celebrity profiles for a variety of magazines. 
Additional information may be found on her website (HERE)

I received this book free from BOOKSPARKS as part of their blogger review program. 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 March 2013

Scent of Lilacs by Ann H. Gabhart, Book review

Publisher: Revell (May 1, 2005)
ISBN-13: 978-0800730802


Before Ann H. Gabhart became well-known for her much-loved Shaker novels, she wrote three poignant novels centered on the loveable Jocie Brooke and her family, who lived in 1960s small-town Kentucky. Once named as one of Booklist's Top Ten Christian Novels and now featuring a brand new cover, Scent of Lilacs is poised to capture the hearts of new readers everywhere. Life-changing events rarely happen here, and when they do, they are few and far between. But for Jocie Brooke and her family, they happen all at once. Jocie has questions that need answers. As she digs into her family's past, she finds a whirlwind of discoveries, and everything begins to change. In the end, will Jocie find the answers everyone so desperately needs, or will her questions lead to truths that were better left uncovered?

Combining unforgettable characters, true-to-life struggles, and the perfect dose of humor and nostalgia, this riveting story takes readers through the universal experiences of true love, new life, and renewed faith. With a beautiful new cover, Scent of Lilacs is poised to capture the hearts of readers everywhere.

My thoughts:

There is an air of Mayberry RFD in 'Scent of Lilacs', a warm feeling of a rural America yet untouched by social upheavals, streets protests, political slayings and racial riots.
Substitute Preacher David, also Editor of the Hollyhock Banner, for the Sheriff and think of Josie as another Opie and you get the same sense of wholesomeness but don't be fooled: there is more than meets the eye in Ann H. Gabhart's tale! 

Like all good stoytellers, Ann weaves an unforgetable plot set in the summer of 64 around colourful characters who face daily challenges like any of us. She brings us a bit of nostalgia sprinkled with zazzy humour and a reminder that God is never far!

For some Jocie and her 13th summer will be a reminder of days gone by, a time when Elvis and his famous rock n' roll enticed anyone to swing their hips, when lacquered hairstyles were tantamount of beehives, young people joined communes and peace was a sign for a growing group of flower children. 'Groovy' and 'Dude' became part of the American vocabulary and the Space program was in its infancy.

With an eye for details, Ann Gabhart tells us of Jocie's twenty year old sister Tabitha, who ran away to California years before with their Mum, only to come back because there is nowhere for her to go. Tabitha you will soon discover has a secret. 
And she is not the only one: my favourite character is Aunt Love, whom one could compare of course to matronly Aunt Mae, only she is forever forgetting something such as the biscuits baking or the bacon cooking...That said, her mind is at its sharpest when quoting the Bible. In that instance, the elderly aunt could give a running to her nephew the Preacher! 

David Brooke is the quintessential middle age man who discover it is perhaps not too late for a little romance in his life. A small town preacher cum newspaper editor, David has always strived to be a good father/nephew/friend and pastor to all but when secrets reveal themselves, he must find the right words to balance a world suddenly spinning out of control and trust the Lord will stand by them!

5 stars!

“Available March 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

About the Author:

Ann H. Gabhart started writing when she was ten and has been writing ever since. Her first published writings were personal experience pieces, youth stories, and poems in church periodicals such as HomeLife. Her first novel, a historical romance about the settling of Kentucky, was published by Warner Books in 1978. Since then, she's published numerous books for both adults and young adults. The Scent of Lilacs, her first inspirational novel, was chosen as one of the Top Ten Books in Christian Fiction in 2006 by Booklist magazine. Her first Shaker book, The Outsider, was a finalist for Christian Fiction Book of the Year in 2009 and was a Top Pick by Romantic Times Book Review Magazine.

For more on this author, visit her website (HERE) and One Writer's Journal (HERE).

Note to Readers:

To celebrate GRANDMOTHERS Ann has a lovely GIVEAWAY going at this time!
For those of you interested in details on how to participate, stop by her blog and place a comment on her 'Grandmothers' post!
(And whilst you are visiting tell her she is in your thoughts and prayers as this week has given her a challenge or two!)


I received this book free from BAKER REVELL as part of their blogger review program. 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. 

21 March 2013


Spring is now officially here...

Beachcombing and remnants of the mighty winds which blew last night around the coast...
(no damage for us as far as we can see but snow in the forecast!)

Gentle waves lap the shore whilst angry clouds still hover above...

Neighbours visiting...

The doe knows it well...we'll never say 'no' to a treat or two...

Closeup...camera shy? Me? 

(Robert Browning)

A warm hello from the Pacific NW coast and Happy Spring to all!

19 March 2013

Red Sky At Night by Jane Struthers, Book review

Publisher: Ebury Press (September 29, 2009)
ISBN-13: 978-0091932442


How to navigate by the stars, attract butterflies to a garden, build the perfect bonfire, and bake one's own bread—an indispensable guide to everything people knew and loved before we went inside and turned on the TV
In a world of traffic congestion, supermarket shopping, and 24-hour internet access, it is easy to feel disconnected from the beauty and rhythms of the natural world. This is the book for anyone who has ever gazed in awe at stars in the night's sky, tried to catch a perfect snowflake, or longed for the comfort of a roaring log fire. 
Readers will learn how to predict the weather just by looking at the sky, how to forage for food, and how to make cider. From differentiating types of owls to gardening by the phases of the moon, and from curing a cold to brewing ale, this lovely guide is packed with instructions and lists, ancient customs, and old wives tales, making it an indispensable guide to countryside lore.

My thoughts:

For those of you who are not yet familiar with British author Jane Struthers, 'Red Sky At Night' is a delightful compilation of the many simple things we enjoyed before we tuned ourselves to the electronic age!
No need to have been raised in the countryside (I certainly was not), you will notice immediately the shrewd and comforting approach to a no nonsense lifestyle reflected in this gem of a book
For those of you who consistently stress a green approach to everyday life to your family, this is a little guide packed with all sorts of judicious and even whimsical advice!

'Red Sky At Night', The Book of Lost Countryside Wisdom is a work of love and provides such subjects as how to navigate by the stars (you never know when this might come handy!), including a list of common birds of Britain and native trees of Britain. 
Anglophiles will enjoy it for its wealth of British common sense but folks everywhere will appreciate a reminder of the simpler things in life!

Beginning with a foreword headed by Dr. Samuel Johnson's ' When two Englishman meet, their first talk is of the weather', readers will discover chapters titled 'All Creatures Great and Small (not the series) which covers for i.e. 'Bee lore', 'the life of a butterfly' or 'Oh! Deer' (that one is for us on this island!), followed by such as 'Up the Garden Path' which tells you of growing herbs and companion plants, and 'In the Kitchen' including the perfect High Tea, 'baking your own bread' and making your own yoghurt, on to a "Well Stocked Larder" and the best bitter orange marmalade recipe and strawberry jam ever, 'Traditions' and 'Country Crafts' to name only a few!

A little treasure of some 279 pages, this book of lost countryside wisdom is written with elegant penmanship to remind you of the good things in life, to be kept on your shelves for a quick reference! It has everything you might like to check now and then to help you stop the frenzy of day to day chores and smell the roses!

Jane Struthers ends her book with a poem by Robert Herrick's Hesperides which begins with...

“I sing of brooks, of blossoms, birds, and bowers: Of April, May, of June, and July flowers. I sing of Maypoles, Hock-carts, wassails, wakes, Of bridegrooms, brides, and of their bridal cakes.” 

Perfect for Spring! Many thanks to Country Rabbit for the book reference! 
5 Stars!

About the Author:

"Writing is part of me. It’s as central to my life as breathing, and I don’t know what I’d do without it. I can’t remember ever not writing. I started doing it when I was small and the habit was immediately impossible to break. The first thing that I remember writing was my version of the Bible. I cut out the boring bits and got it down to four snappy pages. I have no idea what was in it but I do recall that it made my mother laugh. She was less amused during the next open day at my primary school when she discovered that the diary we were encouraged to write each Monday contained a vivid description of her tripping over on Eastbourne promenade. I had even illustrated it..."

Take a moment to read the 'rest of the story' on Jane's website (HERE) and to check her other books including The Book of Christmas Everything we once knew and loved about Christmas!

Note to Readers:

You will remember of course unless stated otherwise, reviews reflects only my opinion!