Saturday, October 14, 2017

A Word for Us on 10/15/17


He who has knowledge spares his words,
and a man of understanding has a cool spirit.
Proverbs 17:27 AMPC

I suspect this verse is a good reminder for many of us, including me.

Have a wonderful start to your week,
Bess

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Refinement



" ... Look at the pebbles in the bottom of the pool, Miss Emily, so round and smooth and shining."

"Yes, but where did they get that beautiful polish, that satin skin, that lovely shape, Rebecca? Not in the still pool lying on the sands. It was never there that their angles were rubbed off and their rough surfaces polished, but in the strife and warfare of running waters. They have jostled against other pebbles, dashed against sharp rocks, and now we look at them and call them beautiful."

(From Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin)


If we allow them to, the trials and hardships of life can help to make us beautiful, in the very best sense of the word.

Have a beautiful weekend,
Bess

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

For Your Reading Pleasure 10/10/17



When my brother was in the hospital for three weeks, over 2.5 years ago now, I picked up three books from the hospital gift shop to read during those times he was well out of it.






I always think of them, therefore, as "hospital books," but they are rather lovely books full of simple art and encouragement, published by Blue Mountain Arts of Boulder, Colorado. Printed on thick, deckle edge paper, they make great gifts for sons, daughters, graduates, teenagers, newlyweds, and the ill or discouraged. A search under Blue Mountain Arts on Amazon will bring up many suggestions to begin with. They have calendars as well.





I had thought of passing them on to our library, but then thought against it. Instead, I decided I'd add them to my small collection of short books suitable for a quick and easy injection of encouragement and positivity for myself. Here is a list of some of their titles:



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 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, October 8, 2017

A Word for Us on 10/8/17



We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Psalm 100:3



Praying blessings over you and yours,
Bess

Friday, October 6, 2017

Sticking to a Food Plan

Canned soup for lunch the other day.

Am struck, as usual, by infinite superiority
of other people's food to my own.
From The Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield

After gaining ten pounds this summer from consuming far too much ice cream, I have created a chart in Excel to plan and track my eating. 

Meal planning in hopes of losing weight is not easy, especially when trying to balance, in moderation, low salt, low sugar, low calories, low cost and low waste. And enough protein (I don't eat much meat these days). I have totally abandoned keeping track of fat grams. I don't care. I figure if my totals come in reasonably well in the other categories, my fat consumption isn't going to totally run amok.

So far the chart looks pretty good. Most days just under 1200 calories; most days a bit under 1500mg on sodium. I'm still too high on sugar and too low on protein, but I'll keep working at it. Plus, I haven't been separating out my added sugar total from, what do you call it, just natural sugar(?). Perhaps I will down the road.

I hope to increase my fruits and veggies little by little, but I'm getting about two servings of each a day, most days. And when I have something salty such as canned soup, then I adjust the rest of the day's sodium intake. 

I'm hoping the food chart will be a stern taskmaster and keep me in line!

Have a great weekend!
Bess

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

For Your Reading Pleasure 10/3/17





Just a quick post to say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Blue Castle by
L M Montgomery. The review(s) I read said it was written for adults, most of her books being written for young people (and/or we young-at-heart adults who appreciate excellent writing). The "adult" part of the book is simply that the main character, Valancy Stirling, is twenty-nine, so that may not appeal to Anne fans.

Also, being a book written in the 1920s, the term "making love" or "love-making" is used a couple times. In that era, the term simply meant flirting or wooing or romancing and nothing more. (I have read a poor review or two of Montgomery's Anne books on Amazon for using such terms.)

Valancy is a bit different looking, not very attractive, and has resigned herself to being a spinster. She lives with her mother and aunt. They and all her other relatives in town stifle her with their constant opinions and derogatory remarks.

But a letter she receives changes things completely, giving her the courage to stand up to her family (who think Valancy has lost her mind). Suffice it to say that after confronting her relatives, new adventures are ahead for Valancy.

I won't say more lest I give too much away, but I thought it was a wonderful story and wonderful writing. The descriptions of nature in the Muskoka area north of Toronto are fantastic.

I am an Amazon Associate. The link above is for the Kindle version I purchased (it's gone up in price just a bit). It seemed complete, and had just a very few typos. Or you can try one of the many other versions, or your library.

Anyway, I highly recommend The Blue Castle by L M Montgomery!

Happy Reading,
Bess

Sunday, October 1, 2017

A Word for Us on 10/1/17


What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. ... The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:12,14

My thoughts:

So it turns out the old childhood taunt--"takes one to know one"--is true. But in the case of Christians, the phrase becomes this truth: It takes One to know One. 

If we just don't get it, we can ask The One to show us and make the truth known to us. And He will, but we must be sure to keep eyes, hearts, and minds open so we don't miss Him. (He stands at the door and knocks, Revelation 3:20.) 

Then when we accept Him as Lord and Savior, He puts His Spirit in us, and the light in us goes on. "Aah!" A new understanding begins to dawn.

Of course, not all is revealed at once or we'd be totally overwhelmed. Little by little, from glory to glory.

Have a great beginning to your week,
Bess

Friday, September 29, 2017

One Never Knows



I noted the following quote in one of my commonplace books. It's from the short story "When the Wood Grows Dry" by Gladys Taber (from the book One Dozen and One).

Miss Minerva, a voice teacher, after her worst nightmare had a happy outcome:

"It shows how wrong one is to despair," she thought humbly, "for one never knows. Around the corner it may be different." And she trotted along stiffly, happier than any angel in Heaven.

Alas, I don't remember the specifics, but the point is eventually her problem was completely resolved.

And in all likelihood, yours, mine, and theirs will be, too.

So never give up! And never, ever do the unthinkable. Because one never knows. Tomorrow may very well bring a reason to smile. Tomorrow may very well bring a reason to laugh. Tomorrow may even bring a reason to run and clap with joy!

May your tomorrows be bright,
Bess

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

What's in My Book Chest?


When we had the family woodworking business (eons ago), my brother made several small chests, of which I have two. One is at my bedside to hold the clock, beverage, hand cream, and current reading material. But inside it holds many books - for safekeeping and future rereading. Let's take a look (lots of inspirational books, but some other genres, too).

As is after lifting the lid.

I did some rearranging as I went along. Below are four devotionals by Vonette Bright. I like them very much.



The book on the left was either a "grocery store" or Walmart devotional. In this chest I also keep a vintage copy of Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking and another "positive" book The 4:8 Principle (see above). And of course I've read all of Joyce Meyer's books on the subject of our thoughts, along with one or two of Dale Carnegie's, and others I'm sure. After all, this blog was originally called Fixing My Thoughts!


I enjoy Bible Studies by Catherine Martin. Somewhere I have a Leader Certificate for teaching her studies. At one time I thought that was something I might do, but I never did.


Books on what we know about Heaven from studying the Bible, given me by my older brother and my sis-in-law (Bible teacher extraordinaire), and a couple more devotionals. I love devotionals, but I don't buy too many new ones any more. Someday I want to pull them all together in one place. I have several by Meyer and others. All of which probably influenced my writing stories from my life in a devotional format.


More devotionals and a book that I need to reread, Frugal Luxuries. Now I often read blogs about living frugally. Still restacking so the light is better.


More books from either the grocery store or Walmart. Every one of them is excellent and worth a reread.


The photos are dark; it was evening. These are my "feel good/self-help/motivational" books. I think I've mentioned on my blog probably a long time ago that I had an interest in the French way of living. As they came out, I also bought about all of Sarah Ban Breathnach's works (stacked on the left side of the chest), although for some reason I donated one to the library. At one time I had many of Victoria Moran's books, but donated them. (I may have bought the above since then.) I also donated several--all I had--of Stormie Omartian's books (inspirational). I share this just to indicate my reading interests in past years. But alas, space is limited, so weed out I must.


More French living books, these by Anne Barone. I may do a separate post on them one day. I've had others, and for the life of me I can't think of titles or authors but I can see the poodles ... French Women Don't Get Fat and the sequel were two. Barone was the first to bring the French way to light as far as I know, though.


Biographies on Alcott and Dickinson and some of their works. The one on the right is not light reading, but it is very interesting. At least I found it so. It was a gift from my son several years ago.


Above is a 1939 copy I have in the chest, too. The cover is damaged and unreadable, but it was my great aunt's so I keep it (for now). (I actually have never read this nor seen the entire movie.) Somewhere I have a vintage copy of Little Women that's in better shape.

And finally:


A couple of gift-type books. The one on the right was given to me by a good friend who passed away ten years ago. I think I bought the Engelbreit book. I kept it out and think I'll enjoy a reread tonight. (Don't Look Back ... this must be another "positive thinking" book.)

Well, that's what that little chest holds, which is quite a bit. Do you have any of the same books? The other chest holds most of my stationery which I've shared before, but maybe one day we'll look at the other few things in it.

Hopefully this hasn't been utterly boring. I really enjoy the blogs/bloggers that share about their day or what they bought or books they have, etc. It's like a chat with a friend and learning something new about her.

Blessings,
Bess

Sunday, September 24, 2017

A Word for Us on 9/24/17



Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:4-7

A few of my thoughts on the above:

Once we accept Him as our Lord and Savior, Jesus is in us and we are in Jesus. We are planted in Him (and He in us), over time becoming firmly rooted and grounded in Him, becoming more and more like Him.

Being "seated with Him in heavenly places" while we yet dwell here is a great mystery; well, at least it still is to me. I haven't yet fully comprehended to my satisfaction what that exactly means. (But I interpret this verse to say we are seated with God by virtue of being in Christ, the antecedent being God, but at the same time by being in Christ we are also seated with Jesus.) 

At any rate, it must mean that we are, in fact, "in Christ." Therefore, as Christians our safe delivery to Heaven is assured, because we are already there.

...shall not we study application of ourselves to Christ,
by whom we hope to be advanced, nay,
are already sitting with him in heavenly places?
From the book The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes

This is just another area in which I will have to do further study!

Blessings for a great start to your week,
Bess


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