Tuesday, June 27, 2017

For Your Reading Pleasure 6/27/17


Link to Amazon



Recently I read My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin, the latter being a pseudonym for Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin. The book was first published in 1901. What is so amazing to me is that Ms. Franklin wrote the book when she was only sixteen. Her command of language and storytelling is incredible.

The story, told in first person, takes place in the Australian bush country during the mid- to late 1890s. It is fiction, yet autobiographical. Sybylla Melvyn is our highly precocious, talented, high-strung, self-centered, feminist-before-her-time, independent heroine. At times I empathized with her, at others I wanted to shake her.

It was a time when life was difficult for many in Australia. The era and place were both gritty and beautiful, as shared so perfectly by the author. Have your dictionary/smartphone handy because there were many terms/words unfamiliar to me. I also enjoyed looking up images of such things as kookaburras, goannas, various trees, etc.

The book is also a great love story, but....  How I wish I had come across a Harold Beecham in my life! There is a sequel entitled My Career Goes Bung, or entitled The End of My Career, which I hope to read also.


Link to Amazon
 

The edition I read had a short biography of Franklin. She led a difficult, but fascinating life. I believe she managed to write seventeen books, but she felt that her first, My Brilliant Career, had been her best. I hope you'll read it and enjoy it. And please let me know if you do! I'm eager now to read more vintage books that take place in Australia.

Happy 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.




Sunday, June 25, 2017

Another Wise Word








"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?"
Luke 12:25,26

Here's a link to an older post I wrote about dealing with worry. Maybe there will be something helpful to you.

The photos are of another gift of stationery that I neglected to share in my last post. Its box is good-sized, and will make a lovely trinket or jewelry box. I keep it on a stack of decorating books. I suppose I could remove the few cards I have left, and make other use of the box sooner rather than later. I love its pretty cover art. (Papyrus calls this type of box "keepsake flip-top box with magnetic closure"; I don't know if this design is still available, but you can search here under Stationery.)


Have a great start to your week. I already have Tuesday's book post written, so hopefully I'll get it published early in the day. (I don't auto-publish because I always seem to have one or two last-minute changes.)

Don't worry, be happy! 

Many blessings,
Bess

Friday, June 23, 2017

My Stationery


Stationery has come and gone over the course of my life, but today I'm sharing what I have on hand at the current time. Some is getting to be twenty years old. Some arrived as gifts that are much appreciated and enjoyed. Some belonged to my dear mother. (Sorry for the dark photos; and that was the light outside on my little back porch! I've used auto correct wherever I found it helped a little bit.)




Kitties with attitude.

The kitty stationery in the boxes belonged to my mother first.


I used to be a pretty good letter writer. I still have many of my letters to my mother and grandmother that I found after their deaths. And theirs to me. One of  my projects has been to go through them to see if I can thin them down to the most meaningful. 


Crane on top; the bottom two are Hallmark. My son informs me the music is a Chopin Nocturne.






Just as in Austen's days, I even have had friends in town with whom I exchanged letters. Sometimes I prefer it to a phone call. 

I've shared this before. It's Papyrus and was a gift. Very beautiful, large paper
and an equally gorgeous box.

This and that. I've omitted one or two.



I keep a little sheet of paper in each box to note who I've sent which design so that they can have the pleasure of a different one next time.


Just a couple remain of these.

I bought the French Country notecards; the others were gifts. So cute.



You'd think I'd write more letters! However, I've written three in the last couple weeks, so I hope to continue along those lines. Although these days I mostly text or email, for me, writing and/or receiving snail mail is still one of the great joys in life. What about you?


But Beatrix was a practical person. She stayed cheerful by focusing on what she had and what she could do, rather than making herself unhappy by longing for what she would never have or couldn't do.
From The Tale of Cuckoo Brow Wood, The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter (Book 3)
by Susan Wittig Albert


Thanks for visiting! Have a delightful weekend!
Bess

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

For Your Reading Pleasure 6/20/17











Today I'm doing something a little different. I'm going to share a link to Scott's favorite 100 books by female British authors. He blogs at Furrowed Middlebrow. I came upon his blog simply because I had googled the word "middlebrow" while reading a book, which I found to mean literature or art one doesn't have to overly strain his or her intellect to understand or enjoy. A work that falls between lowbrow (lightweight) and highbrow (scholarly). 

I counted and I've only read fourteen of the authors that made the list. And probably fewer of the actual books that made his list. (But of the fourteen authors I have read, I've read beaucoup of their books in total.) 

Caveat: Since I've read so few of the listed authors and Scott's favorite books, I don't know whether or not they all fall into the "clean" category. Possibly not. 

I sure appreciate Scott's compilation of his list. It's added many suggestions for books for your and my reading pleasure.

OK. Enough chatter. Here is the link to A MIDDLEBROW SYLLABUS. (Scroll down for complete list.) And be sure to check out his blog for other wonderful book suggestions. You might like Dean Street Press, as well. (I have no affiliation with either.)

Enjoy!
Bess
PS: I'm skipping My Amazon Picks this week. If you see a book on the list you'd like to purchase, I encourage you to use the link to Amazon via Scott's blog so he'll get the credit.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Another Encouraging Word











The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.
1 Samuel 10:6

Samuel spoke these words to Saul at the time he was anointing him to become Israel's first king. We can apply these words to ourselves, if we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

We find we believe that Jesus is Lord; the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us. We begin telling others why we believe, and as we walk out our faith, little by little the renewed woman on the inside shows herself in our thoughts, words, deeds, and attitudes. We indeed are changed, over time, into a different person. 

Praise the Lord!
Bess

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

For Your Reading Pleasure 6/13/17






When it comes to fiction, it's pretty obvious that I prefer light, gentle reads. At present, my choices mostly include cozy mysteries (clean), clean romance books, and children's books in which the writing is sophisticated enough for an adult to enjoy. I have read deeper books, of course, but am currently preferring generally lighter, "happy" books.

I'm always searching the Net for suggestions, which led me to another series I have embarked on: The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter by Susan Wittig Albert. These books are wonderful for fans of Beatrix Potter, and I may be the only such person who hadn't read the books until now. I am about to finish the third book in the series of eight. Photos are links to Amazon, a mix of Kindle & print.




They are certainly light reading, but Albert's writing and storytelling are superb. She skillfully weaves together fact and fiction, and has done her research. I find myself thinking the parts about Potter herself are totally believable.

Below is the link to The Tale of Cuckoo Brow Wood. (Caveat: There are a few rather unpleasant, almost gruesome references to getting rid of rats, just in case that might bother one; it bothered me a bit, but it's short and I pushed through. It's life in the country, I guess.)




In each book the author tells an interesting, fictional story involving many residents of or from around the village of Near Sawrey. And at the same time, Albert writes the story from the perspective of the animals that live in the area. Yes, they do talk, a la The Wind in the Willows. If that sounds a bit much, then you may not like these books. But all the threads fit together well to bring about interesting and fun tales of the years following Beatrix Potter's purchase of Hill Top Farm.

Each book contains a map and a cast of characters. Also, before beginning to read, be sure to look over the glossary at the back of the book for the vernacular terms used in some of the dialogue.

The books can be found via your library, or are reasonably priced via Amazon. Have you read this series? Did you enjoy them?

As a follow-up to an earlier post, I've just begun the fifth book (of six) in The Travelling Matchmaker series by Marion Chesney aka M C Beaton. When I posted about those books, I had only read three. I thoroughly enjoyed Beatrice Goes to Brighton (#4). Although, there was an interesting revelation (true or not?) about aristocratic men stepping into the sea for a swim- naked. Evidently, they had their own area to swim. (These are Regency period romance novels, and Chesney includes language and habits of the time.) But I think the books do fall into the clean category, at least so far.

Hope you are enjoying much good reading this summer!
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, June 11, 2017

A Powerful Word


God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
First Corinthians 1: 27, 18

Please don't overlook the message of the Cross.
With love,
Bess

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

For Your Reading Pleasure 6/6/17

Just a short post today to recommend that if you're a student of God's Word, that as you read and study the Bible, you will likely gain far greater insight and understanding by also reading the corresponding sections from Halley's Bible Handbook. It has had 25 printings, been around for decades, and has been a big help to me.





The above is the 2000 version I use. It is apparently out-of-print, but can be purchased very inexpensively. In reading a few reviews of the Deluxe 2014 version, see link below, someone mentions that the latter stays open when set down. That would be helpful, as the 2000 version is such that it closes on itself and one must have a bookmark at the ready if she doesn't remember what page she was on. :0] Apparently there are color illustrations and improved maps, as well.





I am happy with the 2000 version (I think it would be useful even if reading a translation other than the NIV), but might spring for the Deluxe one day. But if you don't use Halley's regularly as an adjunct to your Bible study, you'd be amazed how much extra and interesting information it contains.

Happy studying!
Bess


Sunday, June 4, 2017

One More Journal


My back porch is the only spot in my house with any good light!

I bought the above cup and journal on separate visits to Walgreens. I think maybe a portion of the proceeds went to various causes. These obviously had to do with water in some way. I'm afraid I don't recall exactly.

But I am using the cup (16oz to the top) for my water each day. It makes my water intake seem a little less of a drudgery.

I know I'll use the journal as a commonplace book, what with having the title Notes on the cover. I am using one of my new journals from Mother's Day, see here, to write out positive confessions/affirmations. I have begun, and hope to fill the whole journal. My thinking could use a fresh injection of positivity!

As to my new Paris journal, I haven't decided on its purpose yet. Perhaps I shall be like Miss Read from Village Diary, when her good friend Amy gifts her with a journal:

When Amy handed me this present she remarked earnestly, "Try to use it, dear. Self-expression is such a wonderful thing, and so vital for a woman whose life is--well, not exactly abnormal, but restricted!" This smacked of Amy's latest psychiatrist to me, but after the first reaction of speechless fury, I agreed civilly and have had over a week savouring this bon mot with increasing joy.

I'm not much of a diarist, although I do that somewhat in my prayer and retirement journals. Perhaps I'll follow Miss Read's lead and use my Paris journal as a year-long diary.



My journals certainly bring me joy, but most of all God's Word and my family 
bring me joy.


Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."
Nehemiah 8:10, 
after Ezra read The Book of Law to the Israelites who had returned to Jerusalem
after the Babylonian Exile.

Enjoying a sweet drink right now! (That's why I need a pretty cup/glass to help me drink enough water. Aargh.)
Bess

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

For Your Reading Pleasure 5/30/17


Amazon link. The cover is a brighter green than this.


I don't own any of the Anne of Green Gables books, having read all eight of them, as an adult, via the children's department of my local library. I wouldn't mind owning them someday, though. I think I've purchased, quite inexpensively, some of Lucy Maud Montgomery's other works for my Kindle for PC, but I have yet to get to them in my reading.



But a few years back (3, 4, 5?), when I came across The Anne of Green Gables Treasury book, I had to have it. As I recall, I bought it directly from some Anne website, but I can't find which one it might have been. (If someone out there knows, please enlighten us!) My copy is personally signed by Carolyn Strom Collins. The other author is Christina Wyss Eriksson. Both live in Minnesota, but the book says Ms. Collins lives on PEI during the summers and is on staff at the LM Montgomery Heritage Museum. She is probably retired now, though. The book is copyrighted 1991, with an update copyrighted 2008. This edition is a "Special Edition Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Anne of Green Gables 1908-2008."



I don't think I can rave about this book enough to do it justice; I think it's that wonderful. It is a softcover (but firm, with flaps) book* with beautiful illustrations throughout. I especially like the timeline entitled "Through the Years," which lists what Anne's age would be, along with snippets from actual history. There are recipes for tea time treats mentioned in the Anne books; also instructions for crafts, including potpourri, sachets, an apron, pressing flowers, collecting buttons, crochet and more. There are floor plans for Green Gables, and maps of Avonlea, the farm, and of Prince Edward Island. 



There's a very sweet, thorough chapter on gardening, the meanings given flower names, and what Anne would have had in her garden each season. Finally, the Special Edition version of the book contains four itineraries with suggestions for the various attractions one can take in on a visit to the Island.

*My only criticism would be that the cover is a bit garish and doesn't represent the beauty of the contents as well as it could have.

I hope all you lovers of the Anne books out there are having the pleasure of owning The Anne of Green Gables Treasury. (I see the edition I have is more costly, but you can take a look, and maybe the price will drop: The Anne of Green Gables Treasury -Special Edition Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Anne of Green Gables 1908-2008.) The authors have also written a Little House Treasury and other books.

I'm going to immerse myself in my copy yet again!

Always thankful for the blessing of books that speak to my heart!
Bess
PS: I am an Amazon Associate. Thank you so much should you enter Amazon via any link on my blog.




Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Wise Word









Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Colossians 3:15

God bless you and yours,
Bess

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

For Your Reading Pleasure 5/23/17





Today I'm sharing about the Miss Julia series by Ann B Ross (photos are Amazon links). Probably many of you have read these books, but I didn't read my first one until maybe four or five years ago. Eventually I read the next two books in the series, and after that I took a long break from them, only recently reading the fourth and fifth books. I think there are nineteen, so I have many yet to read.





I was slow to get into these books, and I didn't think they were all that great at first. They were borderline for me, I guess. But something made me decide to read another one, which was Miss Julia Hits the Road, and I really enjoyed it! I just finished Miss Julia Meets Her Match and liked it, as well.




I guess that might be an advertisement for giving authors or series another try when they seem just so-so to us. I definitely think our moods and circumstances can affect how much we enjoy a book. Or sometimes a series just doesn't suit us. Especially not until the main characters begin to feel like old friends. Maybe reading just one more book will help us know for sure.



Miss Julia takes some getting used to; at least she did for me. She's a modest woman (love that) of a certain age (65-70?), a Southerner (love that, too), and she's sassy and sarcastic, although I don't think she realizes it. Her mainline church plays a fairly big role in the books, but that's where a lot of the humor comes in, and sadly, a lot of truth. Readers just might empathize with or at least recognize certain stereotypical church members. The books are written in the first person point-of-view, i.e., Miss Julia is constantly telling the story.





When all is said and done, Ms Ross has created a character whose heart is generally in the right place and as big as all outdoors. Now that I've become better acquainted with Julia Springer, I find I like her very much.

What say we get off our computers and go immerse ourselves in a good book of our choice! Enjoy!
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, May 21, 2017

I Love Me Some New Journals


My son and d-i-l sent me two journals from Papyrus for Mother's Day. I love them! They are "deconstructed." Not sure what all that entails, but they lay open flat and are 6.5 by 8.5 which is a nice size for writing or art journaling.

As I told my son, I would keep them in my "journal drawer," and one day, probably before too long, they will beckon to me and I will know just what I want to use them for. Could be as a commonplace journal or an art journal or a scrapbook or a Bible scripture journal or ...  (If you are interested, you can check my sidebar for a couple posts on my journaling.)



You might notice the dying maple leaves on the ground, a gift from our recent hailstorm. We have a man who takes care of our yard because neither my brother (obviously!) nor I are in good enough physical condition to mow and rake. Although I did do it for years. It's just too risky now however. Our yard man is kind enough to come only every other week since our budget is limited. He is a huge help to us. But as it's his week off, the leaves will be with us awhile longer.


My yard has dandelions and other weeds, and I am so thankful it does (this is more so in my backyard, than the front). I think of it as a little nature preserve and am constantly blessed by visits from rabbits, large and small; squirrels; local birds; and birds just passing through. My desk faces out from my bedroom to the backyard, and I love watching all my critters. Most of the neighbors have more pristine yards than mine, but that's OK. I'm glad my yard isn't full of fertilizers and herbicides. In fact, I hope to, someday, make it a Certified Wildlife Habitat, per Brenda's post from Cozy Little House, here. I must wait until I can earmark the funds for the few things I'd need to complete the requirements, but I've got a good start!

For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath
but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:9

I hope you have been experiencing a most enjoyable weekend! We are having a gorgeous day after a stormy week. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

Blessings,
Bess