Monday, April 30, 2012

Book Review - A Perfect Square

A Perfect Square

by Vannetta Chapman
Published by Zondervan, 2012

This is the sequel to Falling To Pieces, and I would definitely advise that you read the first book before tackling this one. I didn't, and it did take me some little while to get to grips with the characters and their past histories :-)

The story opens with the eagerly anticipated wedding of Tobias and Esther in their Amish community becoming entwined with the death of a young woman found in the pond on the land of Tobias' brother Reuben.
Esther's dear friend Deborah joins forces yet again with her English friend Callie to try to discover just why Reuben is refusing to say anything about the girl's death - is he implicated in her murder or totally innocent ? Why won't he speak to defend himself ?

Ghosts from the past also re-emerge for an elderly man who requests Callie's help in a seemingly impossible quest, and Callie finds herself being drawn ever deeper into the life and friendships she has made in Shipshewana after she inherited Daisy's Quilt Shop.
All in all, an enjoyable read !
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Monday, April 23, 2012

Titanic Anniversary

In the midst of arranging the funeral was the Centenary of the Titanic tragedy. There has been a great deal of public interest and events marking the event in Britain.

It was marked at home by the ceremonial opening and usage of my special, brand-new mug and coaster set depicting one of the original advertising posters.

DoomHamster actually went to Belfast on the weekend of the centenary to see the magnificent new Titanic museum, to tour the Harland and Woolf shipyards and to pay her respects, as she is a devoted Titanicophile.

I will ask if I can "borrow" her photos to share :-)
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Catching Up

Due to the Western Easter Public holidays, there was a delay in getting Mum's funeral organised.  At one point the organisation was the stuff of which nightmares are made, and will most likely make an appearance as a black vignette in this year's NaNoWriMo, so eventful was it..............

However, the funeral itself , on Thursday last week, was as lovely as a service held in a crematorium - my mother's express wishes - ever could be, and we were wonderfully supported and surrounded by many family and friends.

In our village we have a wonderful florist named Kath, and I thought you might like to see the flowers she made to go on my Mum's casket.....

These three photos were taken in the florist's shop the day before the funeral.

Kath made a five foot long double-ended spray in shades of pink and purple, with magnificent star-gazer lilies and also stock for added scent.

A close-up view showing many lily buds getting ready to open so the flowers would look lovely for as long as possible......

And a more distant view which shows the small
flowers at the base better.

  The day after the service, we drove to the crematorium to pick up Mum's flowers and we took them to the cemetery where my father and brother are laid to rest, and where Mum's ashes will be interred in due course.
The grave was a mass of colourful and beautifully scented flowers, and a fresh candle was lit in the grave lantern.

Memory Eternal !
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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Book Review - The Get Yourself Organised Project

The Get Yourself Organised Project 
by Kathy Lipp
Harvest House Publishers, 2012

None of my nearest and dearest could accuse me of being obsessively house-proud, yet even I have sometimes looked at the clutter which surrounds me and wished that it didn't have to be like this. Well, it doesn't, and this great book has really inspired me to make a start at getting myself better organised. The problem is always knowing where to start, and it can seem a truly overwhelming task which then gets put on the back-burner out of fear and trepidation.

 The author, Kathy Lipp, shows us how to make things much more manageable and to tackle one small project at a time, using the brilliant Three-Box, Two-Bag System :- 

One cardboard box is marked  “Other Rooms,” for things that have gone astray
One  is marked “Put Back” in this room but in the proper places
The final one is marked  “Give Away” to charity shops or friends.
 A  garbage bag, a bag for recyclables plus a kitchen timer are the remaining essential tools, and Kathy  provides clear guidance on how to plan realistic goals which will enable the reader to make a start and then to keep on top of tasks which need to be done.

I love the way the book is divided up into different projects covering physical areas of the house,  your family - including laundry, meal planning, grocery shopping and paperwork, and then projects for your personal life, covering wardrobes, handbags, To Do lists and more.

 I always tend to leave things build up and then be faced with days of de-cluttering to get the house looking really nice again, but this book has made me determined that 2012 is going to be the year I take charge, even if it means spending much less time wasting on the computer in order to do so !

This isn't a  book showing you how to spend the rest of your life organising your life, it is a book showing you how to organise your life to give you time to live your life to the full.

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Book Review - My Dearest Naomi

 My Dearest Naomi
by Jerry & Tina Eicher
Published by Harvest House Publishers, July 2012

 This book chronicles how Eugene Mast, a young Amish man from Indiana, accepts a full school year teaching post at a Mennonite school in Iowa and must leave his family and his sweetheart, Naomi Miller, behind for nine months.

Eugene and Naomi write frequent letters to each other, some long, some short, some filled with sadness, some with joy. They tell each other everything about their lives, and how they are coping with their separation, and in the process, learn a great deal about each other's deepest hopes, fears and beliefs. Will Eugene find life in the more liberal Mennonite community more to his liking than his strict Amish background, and will he or Naomi meet other potential partners ? Their long separation is hard to bear, but they find reserves of inner strength and emerge with themselves and their relationship intact, maturer and stronger than ever.

This is a touching, endearing and gentle book, accurately chronicling the heartbreaks and joys of the first love relationship of this sweet and earnest young couple. It made me smile, sigh and ultimately rejoice as they are eventually reunited. The story is based upon the letters which the authors themselves wrote to each other during a period of separation and definitely carries the stamp of an authentic relationship.
A great read !
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Saturday, April 07, 2012

Sad News

Dear Ones,

My mother, Loretta, died very suddenly but peacefully this morning.

If you could keep her and our whole family in your prayers, I would be so grateful..........
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Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Book Review - The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club

The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club
by Wanda Brunstetter
Published by Barbour Books, April 3rd, 2012 in the US.

It's not easy to know how start reviewing this delightful and highly original Amish themed book !

The story revolves around a whole group of people, every one of whom is essential to the unfolding of the story. We start by meeting an Amish widow named Emma Yoder.  Emma has decided to offer quilting lessons to anyone interested in learning the skill., but when she sees her frst group arrive for the class which is going to be held weekly at her own home, she is rather taken aback at how disparate a group they are, and she wonders if she will be able to manage to teach them quilting skills. She didn't expect a tough hairy biker dude, a pastor's wife,  an unhappy couple who are trying to salvage their dissolving marriage, a young aspiring songwriter grieving the loss of her grandmother and who is unhappy and isolated, and a widowed Hispanic man with a young baby all to be in her very first group........

I found it very easy to relate to everyone of the characters and quickly became utterly absorbed in their lives and problems, So many of their character traits I recognised in myself, which made me stop and take stock of myself for some valuable soul-searching  devotional time. None of the characters are perfect, far from it, and Emma Yoder  learns as much from her English students as they do from her gentle wisdom and simple yet profound Christian living as well as her skilful quilting tuition..

The plotline is very original, and frequently twists and turns. Just when you think you might guess what happens next, another event supervenes and everything changes again. I certainly did not predict the events of the latter part of the book, and really enjoyed the way it played out to the end. I have read my digital review copy no fewer than four times, and thoroughly enjoyed it every single time. I really do hope we get to meet some of these people again in a future book.

Thank you, Wanda, for a truly delightful and enjoyable story :-)

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