Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sneak peek !

I'm giving my readers a sneak peek at some vintage items that I'll be listing in my Etsy store soon.  You will be able to find them in the vintage section. 

First.....a set of four hand embroidered finger-tip towels.  The picture quality is bad,  sorry,  I'll take a better one , I promise!

Next some Avon Christmas collector plates:

And some Corning / Corelle collector plates:

And lastly, this little gem,  isn't he cute!!!

That's all for now, but hopefully in the next few months I'll be adding lots more vintage items and lots of jewelry. 

If you're interested in anything I've just shown you leave a comment with your email, (like this.......  myemail (at) email (dot) com......  to guard against spammers getting your email address) ,  and I'll give you a pre-posting price.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A book about the Amish in Mexico

Paradise Valley by Dale Cramer

Not your typical Amish fiction.

This story is based on actual events from the author’s family history. Had I not known that before I read this, I would have doubted the accuracy of an Amish community in Mexico.  It's not something I had ever considered.

It begins in an Amish community in Ohio in the early 1920’s.  New child endangerment laws have been enacted as a result of the industrial revolution.  The Amish are told that if they do not send their children to the public schools they will be arrested.  They are also told that their children may not work on their farms.  The fathers are arrested and the children are removed from their homes and placed in a children’s home.  Eventually the fathers decide that the choice between their children spending a few hours a day “in the world” at public school is better than them being raised in “worldly” foster homes all the time.  In order to escape this persecution, they decide to move their community to a different country, much like their ancestors did.  Caleb and his family are the first to move to Mexico where they are exposed to strange and new things that challenge their faith.

Amid the lush and productive landscape they encounter racism, language barriers, bandits, rattlesnakes and scorpions.

The land is everything they hoped it would be, lush, productive, and beautiful. However, they were not expecting the lawlessness they encounter.  The threat of physical harm to Caleb’s daughters forces him to examine his faith and his pacifist beliefs. 

The story is told primarily through daughters Rachel’s and Miriam’s eyes.  Rachel has had to leave the young man she loves and Miriam develops feelings for a young Mexican man.

I had a couple of problems with this book. First, it is definitely a prelude to the upcoming remaining books of the series.  It seemed unfinished.  Secondly, I had a very hard time connecting with the characters.  I didn’t feel what they were feeling, it didn’t draw me in to their lives.

I’ll probably read the other books in the series when they come out, but only because I’m mildly interested to find out if Miriam and Domingo’s relationship develops further and if the community survives the move.

While I enjoyed reading about the setting and culture of Mexico, I can’t say that I loved this book.  I give it a 3 out of 5 rating.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from BethanyHouse through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hands up ???

This week at church during our worship/song time, we sang a song that says "....with trembling hands lifted glorified."  Since we sit in the front of the church, I couldn't turn around to see if there were indeed lifted hands, without being totally obvious.  Instead I just kind of looked out of the corner of my hands within my sight area, including mine.  Now, I was raised in a northern Baptist church and am still a member of a northern Baptist church.  We northern Baptists have always been a rather reserved bunch. We've come a little late to the clapping and raising of hands party, although we've always believed a good loud "Amen!" to be appropriate.  Some of us 'old fogies' may never feel completely comfortable with  demonstrative praise ourselves, but that doesn't mean we don't wish we did.  As for me, I've always been physically reserved.  I was a cheerleader in high school (back when cheering was really cheering....).  I made the JV squad but I like to believe the reason I didn't make the varsity was because I was just too reserved. Of course it could also have been that I wasn't particularly athletic. God didn't give me the "let loose" gift.  That's not to say I am unaffected by emotional situations.  Just ask anyone who has had the experience of sitting in the area around me during one of my kid's school performances.  It's a wonder they could hear anything amid all the sniffing and sobbing!
So, the next time you feel like throwing your hands in the air during a worship song, or clapping, go ahead....DO IT!    I most likely won't but,  in my mind, my hands are up!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Not my usual choice of fiction, a book review

Promises to Keep by Ann Tatlock 

I don’t know if this book is categorized as Christian fiction or not. I would say it is an interesting and clean story with a smidge of Christianity tossed in.

The story is told through the eyes and thoughts of an eleven year old girl whose family is torn apart by domestic abuse. It takes place in the 1960’s, an era of change. We are taken back to a time of racial tensions, war, drugs and changing family dynamics.

Roz, her mother, baby sister and teenaged brother, have escaped from her abusive father and are living near Roz’s grandfather and his second wife. He has managed to find them a large home. The problem is, the home used to belong to Tillie, and elderly lady whose son’s have sold her home and set her up in a retirement home. Unfortunately, Tillie still considers the home to be hers and keeps showing up on the front porch acting as if she still lives there. Tillie’s is an endearing, no nonsense, nurturing lady with a quiet but persistent faith. She is a Christian, and provides wisdom and comic relief throughout the story. Tillie ends up moving back into her old home and helping Roz’z mother with the housekeeping and babysitting, while she works.

Roz meets another young girl and forms a close friendship with her. Mara happens to be bi-racial, so we are exposed to the inequalities of that time. The girls share their secrets with each other, Roz, who dreams of reuniting with her father, and Mara, who struggles with the circumstances of her birth.

This book has a plot that keeps you interested and is full of secrets, intrigue, family relationships and social issues.

If you are looking for a book with the emphasis on faith and doctrine, this is not the book for you. However, if you are looking for a clean but not cheesy, thought provoking story, with unforgettable characters and circumstances, you will enjoy this one. Sensitive subject matter is handled in a very inoffensive manner, which makes this suitable for late teens and older.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from BethanyHouse through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

If you have read this book, I would be interested in your thoughts on it.  Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs

I recently read "Here Burns My Candle" by Liz Curtis Higgs.  This is my honest review......

This story is set in Edinburgh in 1745. It revolves around Lady Elizabeth Kerr, a Scottish highlander and a secret Jacobite, who is married to a lowlander nobleman, Lord Donald Kerr. Lady Elizabeth loves her husband and he professes to love her but he has one major character flaw – he can’t remain faithful. Lady Elizabeth trusts him and while she is aware of the rumors, she prefers to ignore them until she comes face to face with the truth. Lord Donald’s mother, Lady Marjory, the widowed matriarch of the family, has her own secrets. She has a fortune in coins hidden in the floor of her room. Her youngest son, Andrew and his wife Janet come across as high society, ungrateful, freeloaders. Lady Marjory and her family have been staunch supporters of King George, while Lady Elizabeth supports bonnie Prince Charlie. This causes strains and difficulties for the family who eventually decide that it is to their benefit to support the prince in the revolt against King George. As history tells us, that is a fatal mistake. Eventually the family loses everything and has to flee.

I didn’t realize until I had finished the book that is it supposed to be based on the Biblical story of Naomi and Ruth. The similarities are that the ladies are widows, they move to a different locale, and Elizabeth insists on staying with her mother-in-law rather than go home to her non-believing mother. Lady Elizabeth practices the “auld” ways until she realizes that her prayers to the moon are not working. She eventually comes to believe in the Christian faith of Lady Marjory.

The story and plot lines were very interesting and enjoyable, however, the frequent use of the Scottish dialect was somewhat distracting and tends to slow the reader down. Fortunately, the author includes a glossary in the back of the book.

The author pays close attention to historical detail and her descriptions are so vivid you can almost see yourself walking down the street experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of old Scotland.

Apparently there is a sequel which I look forward to reading because the ending of this book is rather abrupt.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Press through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

If you have read this book I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Our southern adventure

We recently traveled down south to visit our oldest daughter.  As we left our northern home, we anticipated warmer weather. Guess what?  The farther south we traveled the more snow we saw!
This is what we saw as we traveled through West Virginia.  Finally, around North Carolina, the snow disappeared. North Carolina! 

Finally, we started seeing this:

and lots of this:


We surprised our oldest daughter by bringing her younger sister along!

We also saw lots of this:

and these
Thankfully, none of these:

or these:
But lots of this....

While we were down there we took a trip to see Fort Pulaski ....

and Tybee Island...
See that guy on the left?  He's surfing!

It was a little chilly and windy but still lots of fun!

My girls picked some strawberries and then our daughter made us some delicious strawberry shortcake - yum!

That was day 1.  On day 2 we helped our daughter paint her living room and dining room.  We were exhasted when we finished but it looks really good. Time well spent!

The visit was way too short and before long we were headed north again.  Guess what we saw?????

More  snow!!!  Obviously Virginia and West Virginia didn't get the memo about it being Spring!
As we got closer to home we started seeing beautiful blue skies and NO SNOW....

Back to the familiar..

We had a great time and wished it could have been longer!  This was our 3rd road trip to the south.  This time I started keeping a log of where the best price on gas was, what hotels were a better value, etc...  Next trip we'll know to avoid the hotel whose continental breakfast is a mini version of a real continental breakfast.  I mean mini!  The muffins were 1.5 inches across and the danish were a whopping 2 inches.  And besides coffee and juice, that's all there was....not even a spoon to stir the coffee!  However, if we hadn't stayed there we wouldn't have had the happy fortune of meeting folks from home!  They were headed south as we were headed north.  They told us they were from about 30 minutes away from our home.  What fun!

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