Tuesday, April 25, 2017

For Your Reading Pleasure 4/25/17





Today I'm sharing the book Home Fires (photo is a link to Amazon) by Julie Summers. The book was first published as Jambusters in the UK, and then apparently republished after the tv series was in production.

The tv series is excellent, and it's so disappointing that it has been cancelled after only its second season. There is a move to have it continue, and I hope it will be back.

Mostly I'm sharing this book to make sure people who like the series and are expecting the book to be a novel about Great Paxford and all its beloved residents, that they know this book is a non-fiction history book about the Women's Institute, aka WI, during WWII. It is definitely not a novel, and almost reads like a textbook. 

But I have enjoyed reading and learning, although it's slow-going. I have about 100 pages left. The book is a thorough study of, and contains the best take-aways from, probably hundreds(?) of records, letters, and interviews of the ladies of the WI and the various organizations holding some sway over their activities during the war.

The chapters are lengthy and chock-full of stats and letters and quotes. But it's all interesting to me. I do think it would have helped immensely to break up the chapters with subheadings, but maybe that's just an older-age preference of mine.

The book has me thinking about how much the WI women knew how to do, or were willing to learn, in order to improve and help their homes, villages, and country. They were a remarkable group, some 330,000 strong, housing evacuees, feeding England, keeping soldiers warm with knit garments, and so much more. Often while planes flew overhead and bombs dropped nearby.

Me? When I married I didn't know how to bake a potato. Or much else. I've never canned anything; and when I tried it, I found I hated sewing. I do love to knit, but am mostly foiled by arthritis these days.  All this to say: Brava, Ladies of the WI. Well done, indeed.

Blessings to my precious family, friends, and all my lovely visitors,
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 and buy anything at all via one of my links, 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.





Tuesday, April 18, 2017

For Your Reading Pleasure 4/18/17





The Travelling Matchmaker books: Emily Goes to Exeter; Belinda Goes to Bath; Penelope Goes to Portsmouth; Beatrice Goes to Brighton; Deborah Goes to Dover; and Yvonne Goes to York. (Photos are links to the Amazon pages; available for Kindle or in print.)

After reading several, but not tons, of Harlequin Romance books in my 20s, I pretty much gave up reading romances for years. Decades even. When I was that age, I decided romance novels had the power to make me unhappy by thinking my husband or our relationship/marriage didn't measure up. 


     This is the series version I've been reading.

I don't recall doing that much reading in my 30s, but in my 40s I began to read mostly non-fiction and/or inspirational books. I didn't bother with much fiction because I didn't think there was anything out there I would like.

When my 50s arrived, I began to read a few blogs that were written by ladies I perceived to be kindred spirits. They would suggest books by authors such as Miss Read, DE Stevenson, LM Montgomery, and others. So I began to read some of their suggestions and finally, after a lifetime of not knowing, I discovered what "my kind of books" were: gentle, wholesome or clean, character-driven books; many by British authors.





 
In time, I discovered there were even romance novels that could be considered "clean" and fun, without being graphic or leading to unwanted arousal. So to make a long story short, in recent weeks I've been making my way through The Travelling Matchmaker series by Marion Chesney, aka MC Beaton. You'll find them both ways. These are short Regency novels about a retired manor housekeeper who travels by "stagecoach" for fun. Jane Austen books they are not, but I am enjoying Miss Pym's efforts to make a match or two. She often has to keep several people in line, as well.





I think it would be best to read the books in order since Miss Pym's background is given in Book 1, and her own romance possibility is ongoing in each book thereafter. I'm ready for Book 4 of six. The story lines are similar to each other, yet different enough to hold my interest. Beaton has written several other series of six books each. They look interesting, also. The books sometimes have a few phrases that are "suggestive," but I haven't found them to be in poor taste.

So if you like romance novels at all, you might want to read some of these books. Maybe it's a sign of the times, but I find myself, now in my 60s, wanting to do very light reading; books that aren't overly serious, and a bit fun. I may reach my fill of romances and clean cozy mysteries (another type of book I never thought I'd enjoy much), but for now they are a nice escape.

Hope you are finding time to indulge in a good book,
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 and buy anything at all via one of my links, 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, April 16, 2017

Another Glimpse



I hope you had a pleasant Easter. It was a day of indulgence for me because I allowed myself all the chocolate I fancied, along with two regular Cokes. Yes, I had given up both for Lent, and believe me, there were times I regretted it! Lent seemed especially long this year. I tried to determine just when it ended, but there were so many opinions, I decided to stick it out until 12:01AM Easter.

At least the final evening was entertaining because we had a bad thunderstorm, some hail, and lost power as soon as the storm arrived. As near as I know, only the few houses that run off our same transformer lost power. Across the street had power; up the street had power, and so on. But our wonderful power company arrived quickly, and power came back on ... except for my house! When I realized the situation, they were just about to pull away, but I ran to my back porch and flagged them in the alley with my flashlight. They said they'd check it out, which resulted in their having to pick up a new transformer and replace it. By that time, we were having a second thunderstorm with more terrific lightening, and there they were, up at the top of the pole changing out the transformer. Those guys are heroes if you ask me. I was quite concerned and said my prayers for their safety. But then I realized they take a lot of safety training, and I decided to trust in their ability to do their job, with God's help.

While this was going on, my brother was using oxygen tanks, what with no power to run the concentrator. Before the big ice storm this past winter, I had picked up a new big tank. But last night I couldn't stop the leakage, so when his small portable tank was near empty, I was starting to change it out to another small tank, which wasn't going to be easy to do with just a little flashlight for light. I must admit to feeling some frustration by that time. And then, voila! The lights came on; I yelled my thanks to the power guys; and had good light to exchange the tank to be ready for next time. It's that time of year on the Great Plains.

I used to drink solely Diet Coke for a soda, then this past year I'd been rotating in regular Cokes to where I'd enjoy two or three a week. That's not a good thing, so seeing as how I went without them for forty-six days, I'm going to try to cut back a bit. 

It's odd, perhaps, but I find the older I get, the more I want to consume certain foods and treats from my childhood. White bread for toast or sandwiches is another. But then I don't have it very often so I guess I won't fret over it. The occasional Hostess Cupcake. Oh dear. At least I haven't gained my lost weight back ... yet!

In other news, I've decided I hate the romance book I wrote years and years ago, but I am still, slowly, inputting it into the computer. Then I will probably have to shoot it. I mean, fry it. And lose the backup flash drive. On the other hand, I may put it on Amazon so that its few readers can learn how not to write a romance. I'll stop now. (But really, it's a wonder people publish anything because we are our own worst critics.)

Just took a break to watch tonight's episode of Home Fires on PBS. I have the book coming from our library system. I'm aware it's not a novel, but rather more of a history of the WI. I'll let you know if I like it.

On that note, I may be a day late with this week's book suggestions. We shall see. Well, it's still Easter evening as I write this, and I feel the need for a bit more chocolate, so I'll close. 


Remember, God loves you and, believer or not, there's not a thing you can do about it. Be blessed.
Bess

Saturday, April 15, 2017

An Easter Word

























Therefore, since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone--an image made by man's design and skill. 

In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 

For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed [Jesus]. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.   Acts 17:29-31 [] added

Happy Easter to All,
Bess

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

For Your Reading Pleasure 4/11/17




Today I'm sharing another round of children's books by Susan Coolidge (pen name), which I am enjoying reading as an adult: The Katy Carr Series. The books are about a family of six children, Katy being the oldest. The father is a doctor and a widower. According to the Wikipedia article, the first book was published in 1872. The article gives a fairly good summary of the books.

I missed out on most children's and young adult books while I was growing up, so if they sound mildly interesting at the very least, I'm willing to give them a try. (We moved a lot, and as for my teachers and librarians, I think I just fell through the cracks, maybe. As for my parents, who I adored, I share about them in my memoir.)

The one series (so far) I wasn't able to force myself to continue with as an adult was the Nancy Drew books. Believe me, I am as surprised as you are, but after reading just four (I think), I'd had my fill. Ah well, to each her own. A reader my age must always prioritize, especially when I've so much catching up to do. I do so hope Heaven has a huge library!

There are many versions of the Katy books "out there": Kindle, paperback, hardcover, etc. The free versions have suited me, but you might want to check out the others if you want a print copy. There are also omnibuses.



I wound up buying this version of the third book, What Katy Did Next, for 99 cents:




The last two in the series are Clover and In the High Valley. I'll let you search for those on your own if you're interested. They should be read in order, however, because the children age in each book.

The Katy Carr series is also reminiscent of Pollyanna, Dandelion Cottage, Betsy-Tacy, Little Women, etc. Again, the writing is not quite on par with LM Montgomery, but it is good in its own way. I am in the midst of the third book now. There is another that I think might be at least related to the series, although I have yet to read it. It's entitled Nine Little Goslings and it is mentioned in the book What Katy Did Next. Apparently, it should be read before What Katy Did Next, but if not, I'll update this post.

If you've read any of these books already, please let me know if you liked them!

Enjoy your reading,
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 and buy anything at all via one of my links, 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.



Saturday, April 8, 2017

An Awesome Word


Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits- 
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Psalm 103:1-5

As I've been going through and thinning out, little by little, my bibelots and dishes, I've discovered that I'm hanging on to my clear glass: cut glass, pressed glass, and etched glass. I don't have very many pieces, but I find their sparkle and designs appeal to me.


The photos are of a pressed glass cosmetics/vanity tray. It is very heavy for its size. Alas, the top edge has been broken off in a couple places, but it's not too noticeable. The fragrance is just good old Wind Song. It's a nice cologne for those of us who are minding our pennies.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Bess

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

For Your Reading Pleasure 4/4/17

Hi Fellow Bibliophiles! Today I am simply going to put up links to my four favorite books by Joyce Meyer (so far). Clicking on the photos will take you to their Amazon pages where you can read the synopses. 

I am not affiliated with her ministry in any way whatsoever. However, over the years, reading her books (and watching her program) has been a huge help to me. She is seriously anointed to apply the Bible to our lives in these modern times, sharing wonderful practical applications.













In addition, here's a link to her new book, which I haven't read yet:



I have probably read most of her books, and can't remember an unsatisfactory one. Of course, some will speak to us as individuals more than others.

If you want to test the waters, check with your local library. They are apt to have several of her books or can get them for you. I have donated many of her books, but have kept her older ones. I plan to begin to rotate them in with my other reading, starting with Me and My Big Mouth! (Inside joke.)

Many blessings,
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 buy anything at all from Amazon via one of my links, 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, April 2, 2017

A Celebratory Word

Soon there will be peonies:


Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;
they will sing before the Lord, for he comes,
he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples in his truth.
Psalm 96:11-13

We have had three inches of rain this week after nearly no moisture for several months (only an ice storm). I can sense the jubilant fields and hear the singing flora and fauna all around! Praise His Name!

And iris or irises:


But if you've been coping with anxiety (and just about all do from time to time):

When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought joy to my soul.
Psalm 94:19

Tell Jesus all about what is troubling you, and ask Him to give you His peace. Then begin to sing or hum a song to your little self and go do some housework or yardwork or anything else productive, while you sing along. Repeat as necessary.


Have a most blessed Sunday,
Bess
(Photos from 2015)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

For Your Reading Pleasure 3/28/17




This 2015 book by William Norwich is a true gem (photo takes you to its Amazon page). I write down book passages I especially like in my commonplace books. I've never ever tagged so many quotes in one book to write down! (I mark them with the little thin post-its "flags" and keep on reading; after I'm done I go back and reread the tagged bits; if they still move me, I copy them.)

I aspire to be Mrs. Brown: works hard, never complains, knows when not to speak, bears her burdens stoically, takes great pleasure in her cups of tea and her kitty, and loves God. 

But the 66-year-old Mrs. Brown is also compelled to save her money and travel to New York to purchase a dress by Oscar de la Renta.

My Mrs. Brown is not only similar to Paul Gallico's wonderful Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris (1958), but his book plays a role in this one. Gallico wrote four Mrs. 'Arris books. Of course, most readers think the first is the best, but I found the others enjoyable as well, if only to see what Mrs. 'Arris and her neighbor would be up to next.



I read all these books via my library system, but they can be found on Amazon. Unfortunately, excepting My Mrs. Brown, I don't think they are available for Kindle as yet.

If you like gentle reads, please do yourself a favor and read My Mrs. Brown. (There is a bit of swearing, but not by our beloved heroine.)

If you're interested in Gallico's books, they are:

Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris
Mrs. 'Arris Goes to New York
Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Parliament
Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Moscow

I won't do any other links for the Gallico books because being out-of-print, their availability changes often. But I'm sure a search will find them available via your library, Amazon, or your usual used book sources.

May your days be filled with books that lift your soul,
Bess



Friday, March 24, 2017

Violets and Cut Glass


Hi Friends! Don't fall over from the shock, but I took some new photos today to post. I put out the few items I have with violets on them in honor of Spring. 


Normally, I wouldn't have so many items displayed on one piece of furniture. Although, I did do that many years ago. But since the "extras" will be out just for a short while, I'm keeping my usuals out, too. I keep the front portion of the piano lid clear to allow for kitties. Now that Sweetie is gone, I haven't noticed the others up there, though. Obviously, my piano has a high gloss finish. I believe the wood is walnut. I so need to be playing it, but would you believe I haven't touched it since before Christmas?!


Below is an antique hair receiver that always sits on my piano. Next to it is an ornament from Russia that I hang from my piano lamp. Both of those items belonged to a deceased friend.


The painting was done by my maternal grandfather.
This angle "crunches up" the pretties, but they are spaced evenly.

Then I set out some dainty ashtrays with violets on them. I assume they were used for bridge games? I also have a teacup with violets. It says "Elizabethan Bone China" and is from England.


Sorry that photo didn't turn out in better focus. The relish dish in front is pressed glass, but I think the rest are cut glass. I believe the Singer sewing machine is from 1908. It doesn't have its treadle because my great aunt had it "electrified"!


The above is my mother's fruit bowl; probably a wedding present (1948).


Some vintage books. On top is Cranford. I bought Miss Nonentity by LT Meade, but the rest belonged to family. The green book is Lady of the Lake by Sir Walter Scott. Right below it is a thin book of hymns in Swedish. The blue book is a book of hymns in English. At the bottom is a book called The Dickens Birthday Book for keeping track of birthdays for friends and family, and also a late 1800s autograph book I have shared before. The only book I haven't read is the Scott. Come to think of it, I think years ago I bought this Pilgrim's Progress, too.


The Scott book had the card on the left tucked inside it. The book and card were a graduation gift for my great aunt from a friend (1914). On the right is a cellophane-wrapped card that says "Flowers from the Mount of Olives" and has a pressed flower. It is framed in leather but doesn't stand on its own. The two books on the left are And Ladies of the Club (I've never read this but aim to someday), and a book of the love stories of famous composers entitled Like Softest Music. I think it's from 1936. It says it's based on fact but written in the guise of fiction. Haven't read it either, but hope it will float to the top of my reading list someday!

And finally, if one throws a clean blanket on a chair and then gets distracted, well ... cuteness ensues. Oh well! That's what washing machines are for:

Baby


Have a blessed weekend!
Bess

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

For Your Reading Pleasure 3/21/17




The Dandelion Cottage novels, written by Carroll Watson Rankin, are a sweet bunch of books about a sweet bunch of preteen and early teenage girls. Clicking on the photos will take you to the Amazon page for that book. I believe they are each available for free or 99 cents for Kindle on Amazon, which is how I read them (using Amazon's free app for Kindle for PC). They aren't quite the superb writing of LM Montgomery, but if you enjoyed the Betsy-Tacy books, you very likely will enjoy these. Also, if you like housekeeping, you'll want to see how the girls go about setting up house in their little cottage summer playhouse. 

Caveat: These are not short-short books; if a Kindle version says one of the books contains, e.g., 50 pages, don't pay money for it. Something is amiss. (However the link above shows only 106 pages on my Kindle, and it appears complete. I believe the others in the series are longer.)




Dandelion Cottage was/is a real cottage located in Marquette, Michigan (Lakeville in the books). The four books in this series are 1. Dandelion Cottage; 2. The Adopting of Rosa Marie; 3. The Castaways of Pete's Patch; and 4. Girls of Highland Hall Further Adventures of the Dandelion Cottagers. Books 1 and 3 were my favorites. Be advised that by their being written in the early 1900s, the books are not always politically correct. Rankin wrote other books as well. I don't know at this time if any of them are part of this series.

Don't let the title of The Castaways of Pete's Patch turn you off. Pete's Patch is the name given some land along Lake Superior. The girls and friends go there for a vacation, but wind up spending quite some time there.

These are children's books. But I hope you will enjoy these books as much as I have as an adult.

Many blessings,
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 buy anything from Amazon via one of my links, 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, March 19, 2017

Another Encouraging Word


He will listen to the prayers of the destitute.
He will not reject their pleas.
Psalm 102:17 NLT

I will provide for their needs before they ask,
and I will help them while they are still asking for help.
Isaiah 65:24 NCV

Awesome!

Enjoy your Sunday, and have a great start to your week!
Bess