Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Friday, January 25, 2013
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Monday, January 21, 2013
Looking up the hill….
Across the fields to the next Bay.
A closer view.
The hay/sheep field, depending on the season.
Sheep were grazing today.
This one was close to the field edge and did not run away as I approached!
At the foot of the field, the sand dunes begin…
The photos simply do not begin to do the scene justice.
It was remarkable walking across the dunes in the snow.
I could have stayed there all day, just drinking in the view.
Looking back to the “new” ( 30 years+ !)housing development.
Across the dunes, across the sea towards another coastal town.
It was trying so hard to snow again whilst we were out.
And back in our garden, the snow lay on a twisted tree branch.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
a splash of colour.
Friday, January 18, 2013
A Catholic Wrestles with Food, Self-Image, and God
by Mary DeTurris Poust
Ave Maria Press, December 3rd, 2012
How many of us can honestly say we have a truly healthy self-image of ourselves and relationship with food?
I know that I tend to eat unnecessarily because I am bored, tired or in a bad mood as well as when I am hungry. I skip meals because I am busy, but fill up on junk food snacks instead.
This book looks at the roots of our relationship with food, from the first instance of food in the Bible - eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden to the nourishment of the Eucharist in the New Testament. The messages that Christianity has given us can be quite mixed, with examples of extreme piety often focusing on extreme asceticism too, with all the concomitant guilt and baggage that can accumulate as a result.
Poust argues that this is not the message the Church really teaches, and that we need to respect our bodies, our stomachs *and* the food we put into them, as well as making sure we are spiritually nourished by prayer, partaking in the Sacraments and learning to be truly mindful of what, when and why we are eating food in general and high calorie, high fat food in particular. Whether we are overly concerned with dieting or eating, we in the developed countries tend to have a markedly unhealthy obsession with food.
This is a slender volume, but one packed with wisdom and food for thought about developing a better relationship with food and our attitudes to our bodies.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
We live on the coast, so we may just get sleet or a light dusting of snow, but the excitement is mounting in our house and the weather websites are being feverishly checked every half hour or so. As most of the staff for the girls' two schools live further inland, they could well be prevented from travelling to work and a snow day may well happen even if we have nary a flake in our town!
If there is anything to report, photos will be posted :-)
by Wanda E. Brunstetter
Barbour Publishing, February 5th, 2013
When one picks up an Amish themed book, the stories almost always have a satisfying ending, even if it is in a way one didn't initially expect. There may well be trials and tribulations, but the reader can tell that things generally are going to work out.
This brand new series by Wanda Bunstetter looks set to buck this trend and turn it right on its head, as each book is destined to end on a cliffhanger, very much in the style of the original serialised books published in magazines, journals and newspapers.
In this, the first of six stories published at one month intervals, we meet Meredith and Luke Stoltzfus, a newly married young Amish couple who are experiencing financial problems after Luke's job at a furniture store ended some six months earlier. Their savings have almost run out and there are no new job prospects in sight. This in turn causes emotional strain and a degree of depression in their marriage, and each fears the other may end up drifting away and losing respect for each other - a dreadful prospect. Their families have all offered financial help and support, and Meredith wants to look for a job herself, but Luke feels he should be the provider in their marriage.
When his uncle in Indiana offers him the chance to go and visit him and learn how to engrave headstones as a possible new career avenue, he is keen to jump at the chance despite his wife's reservations. What he doesn't know is that Meredith believes she may be pregnant, and she decides she does not want to add to his burdens and worries until she knows for sure. She stays at home to care for their house and dog - and wait for her midwife's appointment to confirm whether she is pregnant or not.
The promising new beginning turns very sour very quickly when Luke is attacked, beaten and left for dead on the journey to Indiana, and we have absolutely no idea what is going to happen next...... and I can't bear the suspense of waiting for the next instalment.
Monday, January 14, 2013
By Suzanne Woods Fisher
Published by Revell, 1st January, 2013
Mary Kate Lapp - known to many as M.K. - is Amish. In theory, her life should be simple, straightforward and pretty much mapped out for her: grow up, make a committment to God and her community, get baptised, get married and settle down.
In reality, she is headstrong, clever and very much a free spirit, all of which tend to conspire to land her in sticky situations, much to her family's consternation. She can't quite make the decision to be baptised and settle down Amish for the rest of her life, and even gets a passport application form just in case she decides to flee the country and go travelling!
The day she comes across a murder victim and later manages to mow down the community's hypochondriacal schoolteacher seems to be her worst day yet, but when she is appointed to be the substitute schoolteacher, her life gets much, much worse.
Chris Yoder, the mysterious newcomer who is employed to help her father with the heavy harvest jobs on their farm has a complex and tangled backstory of his very own, and a young sister nursing her own secrets. Together with MK's determination to solve the murder and a spate of petty crimes as well as get to grips with having to teach youngsters who are all too well aware of M.K.'s mischievous proclivities when she was a school student herself, our heroine is faced with a set of challenges which would daunt many an adult, let alone an Amish teen.
Little is as it seems at first glance, and Mary Kate's well-meaning efforts seem doomed to cause failure and chaos, to her dismay. M.K means so well, yet nothing ever goes according to plan. She is loveable, brave, funny, infuriating and flits from one near-disaster to another - but will she ever be truly content to stay Amish?
As one mystery is solved, things become more and more complicated, and the shocking tragic history which links the Lapps and the Yoder family finally becomes clear. This was an absolute pleasure to read, from the first page to the last.
I was so sad to reach the end of the book, and hope we will re-visit Mary Kate's life in another volume.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
By Beth Wiseman, Kelly Long & Amy Clipston
Published by Thomas Nelson, 2012.
This is another collection of novellas based around the experiences of the members of one Amish community in Paradise, Pennsylvania.
It is a tried and tested format, and once again, it is both successful and enjoyable. A welcome bonus in this particular book is the welcome inclusion of 31 recipes for the Amish food mentioned in the stories: Soft Pretzels, Rose Petal Tea, Tomato Pie, Meat Loaf, Chicken In A Cloud and many more.
The stories themselves are relatvely short, gentle, spiritually nourishing and compelling reading, allowing insights into the very varied lives and characters, all of whom are united in their faith and their committment to living in their Amish community. Just as in any family, village or community, there are misunderstandings, conflicts, heartache and happinesss, and the people we meet are very much individuals.
In the first story by Kelly Long, we meet Fern Zook. Fern is a herbalist and healer for her community, who has been rigorously taught her craft by her loving - but forceful - elderly grandmother. Grandmother is keen to see Fern settled and content in a relationship before she passes on, and plays matchmaker between Fern and the critical Abram Fisher, who is caring for his younger siblings whilst his parents visit an ailing relative. His family responsibilities - and Grandmother's machinations - bring him into frequent contact with Fern, but will they manage to develop a relationship?
The second story by Amy Clipston introduces us to Hannah King and her family, who run a bed and breakfast guest house which generally caters to Englisch guests. The arrival of an Amish guest,Stephen Esh, who is looking to make a fresh start in a new community, piques her curiosity about his mysterious and tragic past.............
The final novella by Beth Wiseman introduces us to a whole family as we meet Eve Bender, who is faced with the stressful scenario of having to temporarily relocate her husband Benny and their rumbunctious young family back to her parents' home for two months while their own home is repaired after extensive storm damage. Her mother's health issues make for a truly poignant but amusing scene when she encounters her grandson's Chinese water dragon, and that is just one of the things Eve has to deal with during this difficult time. She grows closer to her mother than she had ever dreamed possible, and it turns out to be a period of great blessings for them all.
This is a gentle and intriguing collection of short stories, and one I enjoyed very much.
Friday, January 11, 2013
By Loralee Leavitt
Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, January 2013
Well this book was a riotous success in our household ! Right at the beginning, it says: "You may think that candy is just a sugary snack. Think again. With candy, you can become a scientific detective. Test candy for secret ingredients. Peel the skin off candy corn, or float an “m” from M&M’s. Spread candy dyes into rainbows, or pour rainbow layers of colored water. Turn candy into crystals. Make enormous gummi snakes. Sink marshmallows, float taffy, or send soda spouting skyward. You can even make your own lightning. Just try candy experiments."
It definitely shows you how to do all this and more. There are loads of experiments to try out, all with the scientific underpinnings very clearly identified and explained in simple and accessible language.
I really found it fascinating - did you ever wonder why there is sometimes "bloom" on chocolate bars? Heating then cooling chocolate allows cocoa butter crystals to split , and sometimes they reform in an unstable formation and make their way to the surface of the chocolate, causing the characteristic spots and streaks to form.
This book would certainly be of great use to any family choosing to home-school or wishing to supplement the science classes given in school with some seriously enjoyable, cheap and purposeful, practical yet safe experiments.
You too can turn your kitchen into a laboratory and have an enormous amount of fun!
Written by Sheri Sinykin, illustrated by Kristina Swarner
Peachtree Publishers, 2012
There are not many books dealing with imminent bereavement for young children, and although this one is written primarily from a Jewish perspective, it respectfully emphasises that there are many different religious beliefs about souls and life after death, which would make it a useful book to many people.
In this story, we meet a young girl named Rachel, whose beloved Zayde (grandfather) has come to live in her home because he is dying. Nobody initially explicitly tells her he is dying, but she is a perceptive child and quickly works it out from what family, friends and her Rabbi do not say and from her own observations of how Zayde has changed physically . He is chair-bound, reliant on oxygen and can no longer run or walk with her. Instead, their activities are limited to what Zayde can manage to do; playing cards, watching TV or what is going on outside the window, and Rachel realises that she can now do things for Zayde instead.
Her friends tell her their Christian and Muslim beliefs about the afterlife, but she realises that because her family is Jewish, these will not apply to Zayde and she wonders and worries what will happen to him when he dies and eventually asks Rabbi Lev who explains their religious beliefs.
Rachel’s relationship with her Zayde does not simply change, it deepens and she carefully stores up many memories and conversations she has with him; he assures her he is not afraid to die and that dying is a natural and inevitable part of life.
The illustrations perfectly complement the thoughtful and simple yet profound story, and it is a sweet and loving book which could act as a good starting point for a Christian family facing the death of a loved one and wanting to broach the subject with a young child.
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
The book can be bought directly from Souvenir Press.
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
I am now the proud possessor of the new Terry Pratchett encyclopaedic companion, catchingly titled "Turtle Recall", which is going to provide hours of pleasure for the three Pratchett fans in the house, and a smile from the Arnie fan in the house, even if he doesn't read Pratchett.
Special thanks have to go to my very dear friend Mary R, who sent me a veritable treasure trove of gifts, all of which are wonderful :-) I am currently listening to the CD of the St Petersburg Chamber Choir, which is simply lovely, and am the delighted possessor of a lace effect St Nicholas ornament, a new diary, an intricate heart shaped home decor pendant with "Home Sweet Home" on it, and photos will follow in due course........
What did I do on my birthday? The Hubster took me to Starbucks for a coffee and McDonalds for breakfast, I went to two hours of Latin class in the afternoo and we splashed out on an Indian takeaway for supper: Chicken Korma, Meat Biryani, Onion Bhajis, Pilau Rice, Chips, Peshwari Naans, Poppadoms, Mango Chutney and Coconut Chutney. It fed four of us, and there is plenty left over for lunch for the Hubster and I today.
Happy Times !