Tuesday, September 19, 2017

For Your Reading Pleasure 9/19/17


Two books to suggest today. The first is one I just finished: The Blue Sapphire by D E Stevenson. I thought this book was very good, and it is now one of my favorites of hers (although I have several favorites by Stevenson!).

In Part One, Julia Harburn, age around nineteen or twenty, decides it's time to get a place of her own in London. Thus far she had been living with her cold, unloving father and his young second wife, her stepmother.



She takes a room in a boarding house run by a retired actress, and the two become fairly chummy. Needing a job, May, Julia's landlord, finds her a position selling hats for a fairly successful London milliner. It's a small, but busy, shop. Julia, being a pretty girl, is often called upon to model hats, and by also speaking French (which is an asset), she becomes an excellent and conscientious salesgirl. (I loved this part of the book!)

But, it was inevitable that Julia could not stay a shopgirl forever. Before long she is summoned to Scotland by her father's brother (of whom she knew nothing before). He is very ill and wishes to see her before it's too late. She goes to him, and this begins Part Two.

The book is a light, clean romance, but with many interesting "asides." And who will Julia finally marry: Morland? Stephen? Neil? It's worth a read to find out!



Julia's work at the London hat shop reminded me of the wonderful book by Hearst Corporation (1994) entitled Victoria, the Romance of the Hats.

This short (95pp) book is exceedingly lovely. It is full of photos, and a few paintings, of pretty hats and females wearing them. There is also plenty of prose about the history of hats (including in literature), types of hats, milliners, hat pins, caring for hats, etc.

It's a pity we don't wear hats much anymore in the US. I love hats, but unfortunately, I don't look good in a hat. At least I haven't come across a truly flattering one yet. 

England, on the other hand, knows how to do hats. I so enjoy seeing the Duchess of Cambridge in her beautiful hats. I think the Queen's hats are very becoming as well. I even liked Hyacinth Bucket's hats!


At any rate, I highly recommend these two books for your reading pleasure, especially if you're a bit of a romantic!
Bess
PS: I am an Amazon Associate. Thank you so much for looking at these books (and you can always check with your local library). If you do enter Amazon via one of my links and buy anything at all, it costs you nothing extra and gives me a little credit for buying books for myself. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Word for Us on 9/17/17



"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me
and to finish his work."
John 4:34

And let us not be weary in well doing: 
for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Galatians 6:9  KJV

Oh, to be like Jesus. And that, my friends, is the whole point of ... everything.

Have a blessed start to your week,
Bess

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Village Diary by Miss Read


A couple days ago I finished reading Village Diary by Miss Read. It was the second time I'd read it, and I seemed to take forever because I would stop to read my library books on hold that would come in.

As I read, I recognized maybe three or four passages I'd already written in my commonplace book the first time I read it. Probably most of them have been shared in various posts already.

This reading I flagged seven more passages to record, for my own pleasure when I thumb through my journals. Perhaps they will wind up being shared in future posts as well.



However, to me, the entire chapter entitled "October" was a real gem. I'll just have to make note of that and then enjoy rereading that chapter more often than I'm apt to read the whole book.

I especially enjoyed Dr. Martin's and Mrs. Pringle's exchange (it's priceless) when the good doctor asks her, "How's the leg?" 

I also loved the passage where Miss Read is awake during a stormy night and fighting off the urge to go downstairs for something to eat. Wishing she were like Miss Clare, who keeps peppermints and cookies/biscuits near her bed, our Miss Read keeps hoping to fall asleep, but instead conjures up all manner of food to prepare and eat. In the end she descends the stairs, grabs a "most unladylike hunk of fruitcake," takes it back to her bed to eat, and is asleep in ten minutes. Been there, done that! (Well, not giving in with fruitcake, but usually some sort of cake or cookie.)

Then there's the discovery that precious Miss Clare isn't eating enough. Dr. Martin tells Miss Read that the retired "Infants" teacher no longer has the funds nor the motivation to cook decent foods for herself. Fortunately, he has a plan that will benefit three teachers at once (Miss Jackson being the third).



Village Diary is the second of the Fairacre books. I'm so glad I used gift certificates in 2012, I think it was, to acquire the entire series. Even though I had read all the books, I wanted to own them and have randomly reread about half of them so far. I've begun again, trying to make myself go in order, but I know I will deviate to reread one or two of her Christmas books as the holidays approach.

If you are an educator, you must read these books! And if you're not, you will still love them because they are a fantastic record of life in an English village, beginning around the mid-1950s.

Hmm, I wasn't going to post because I didn't think I wanted to do any writing today. That's the power of Miss Read, the nom de plume for the witty and most excellent Dora Saint. What a gift she had.

Must dash off to pick up two more books on hold for me!

Blessings to you,
Bess

Friday, September 8, 2017

LAST DAY for FREE DOWNLOAD!




Thanks to all who downloaded my devotional. I really appreciate your interest!


Today, September 12, is the last day I'm offering the Kindle version of my devotional memoir ABSOLUTELY FREE. It's entitled Can't Hardly Live Without Hope (I explain the title in the book's introduction).

Now is a great time to grab it! Even if you don't have time to read it for months, it'll be sitting there on your Kindle (or Cloud?), waiting for you.

If you think you'd like the print version, I have reduced the price to $4.97 from $6.99. (See top of my sidebar for link.) That's almost as low as I can go and not owe Amazon money! :O)

I do want to say that the 7x9 print book, for being "84 pages", is a densely printed book. According to Amazon, it compares to other books at 131 pages. So although it's short, it's not "that" short. The cover has an attractive matte finish, and the pages are a nice quality in ecru.

It is not my autobiography, but rather select incidents from and thoughts about my life, with a short devotional application for each entry. Readers have said it's encouraging and helpful. My prayer is that it is.

OK, head on over to Kindle and get this book! Or if you know someone who could use a lift, with just a touch of evangelism, please suggest it to them.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart,
Bess

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

For Your Reading Pleasure 9/5/17

This is the large print, library edition I read.

Once again, I'm sure I'm the last person on the planet ... to read The Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield.  (I'm so thankful to blogland for introducing me to books that I probably would have missed otherwise.)

This 1930 book is a hoot. That is if you like dry, tongue-in-cheek, somewhat sarcastic- wit, and I happen to. The humor is quintessential British. 

It is, obviously, written in diary format by a protagonist/diarist/narrator who never reveals her name. Recording events and her thoughts from November 1929 through October 1930, the author tells about her daily life in a manner that is incredibly entertaining.

Her husband, Robert, is a land agent for Lady Boxe. This position apparently is rather lucrative, but not lucrative enough. The family (including a 6-yr-old girl and perhaps an 8- or 9-yr-old boy) at the center of the diary can afford a cook, gardener, live-in nanny/teacher, and a parlour maid (do they all live in?), but just barely. 

The wife/mother, poor thing, is always overdrawn on her bank account, and frequently (implied) must pawn her great-aunt's diamond ring, which she always manages to retrieve from the pawnbroker at the last possible moment.

There are numerous other characters as well, but not so many as to lose track of them. 

My favorite parts/entries of the diary are when our writer visits a friend's older mother, Mrs. Blenkinsop; when she visits her banker; and just about every exchange with her husband. But it's all very good reading.

N.B. Before beginning to read, you might want to google what N.B. stands for (I had to), and also keep your phone nearby to occasionally translate French into English, should you be so inclined. Oh, and don't be put off by all the capitalization of nouns; it used to be a thing.

Have you read this book and any of its four sequels? The complete set is available for Kindle for a song: THE PROVINCIAL LADY COMPLETE COLLECTION (FIVE NOVELS). Includes translations of the phrases in French plus many illustrations! (Timeless Wisdom Collection Book 1160). Nice that the French is translated in this collection!

Aren't we grateful for good reading?!
Bess




Sunday, September 3, 2017

A Word for Us on 9/3/17


All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16,17


The Living Bible paraphrases it this way:

The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right. It is God's way of making us well prepared at every point, fully equipped to do good to everyone.


There are several things one could say about these verses, but today I'm zeroing in on the very first part: that the entire Bible was inspired by God.

There is a type of Last Will and Testament called a self-proving Will. Because of certain language within the Will, along with the signatures of two witnesses and the Testator, a Court (after the Testator's death) can accept the Will as authentic without the need for calling in the witnesses to testify as to the authenticity of the Will.

The Bible is the same. I believe the Bible because through studying it, i.e., God's Word, it proves itself to be authentic and truth by the very words it contains.

One can look at nature everywhere and see God's hand in it. And one can read and study the Bible and know it is truly the Word of God simply because its utter magnificence proves it so.

The longer I study the Bible, the more amazed I am, and I know that I know that I know that no mere men have written the words and told God's Story. Only God could have done that.

Below are a few other verses for your consideration:


The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalm 19:1


For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 
2 Peter 1:16-21


For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
Romans 1:20

There is no reason for doubting God's, and His Son's, existence. We are without excuse.

Think about it, won't you?

Deep breath, and enjoy the rest of this long weekend!
Bess

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Writing Desks

From the book Intimate Home by Victoria Magazine

Just as writing allows us to reflect in quietude, to compose thoughts and distill feelings, so a writing desk is an emotional centerpiece of a busy woman's life. Stocked with fine stationery and elegant pens, stacked with books, and set by a sunny window, it is a place to dream, to plan a week's schedule, or even to lunch quietly
in the company of a favorite author.
(from September 1990 Victoria Magazine, p.65)

Immediately below this quote that I recorded in one of my commonplace books I also wrote: "This is what I live for!" Sigh. I adore writing desks and have wanted one for eons.


From the book Intimate Home by Victoria Magazine


Same as above

The desk I have now is my grandfather's 1960s Early American desk. I don't care for it much, especially the drawer pulls, but it's what I have for now. I did try to replace the handles one time, and disliked the look even more, so switched them back.

Before my laptop and kitties, I had it draped with a pristine white tablecloth (the one seen on the table below), and topped with my writing utensils in a silverplated tray, a few perfect books on which sat a small lamp, and a cute basket filled with individual notecards. The desk looked rather pretty then, where it basked in the late afternoon sun coming through my bedroom window. Alas, those were my pre-photography days, so I don't have any photos of it. 



When I graduated from college as a nontraditional student in my early 40s, I came within a hair's breadth of spending $1500 on a gorgeous writing desk being sold by one of our better stores in town. (No such stores exist here now, to my knowledge.) It was on the small side and had a low back with only a few tiny, but stylish, drawers and slots. It was feminine, curvy, sculpted, not regal, in some sort of darkish wood. I told myself I deserved it as a lovely graduation present. But it was simply too expensive; I couldn't justify the splurge (on my credit card which would not have been wise). The next time I went there, perhaps for a small gift for someone, that beautiful writing desk had been sold.


One of Ms. Stoddard's writing desks

Since then I've never seen one in photos that I've loved as much as the one I let get away. (It's OK; I wouldn't have wanted it to be scratched by the kitties that came to live here.)


From Alexandra Stoddard's Book of Color

If you love them, I hope you have (or one day will have) the writing desk or other desk of your dreams! And I hope whoever has "mine" loves it still.

Same as above

Praying for God's miracles and blessings for all those affected by Harvey. Please make a donation to the American Red Cross or other charity of your choice to help our fellow mankind. 

May God bless you,
Bess