Book Review · christianity · jews, nazis, holocaust · Uncategorized · Writing · WWII

The Legacy


Have you taken the time this summer to read a good book or two or ten? Reading is good for the intellect and the soul, you know.

I’ve made time for myself to do this again for the past two summers. Today I finished Michael Phillips’ The Legacy. The third book in a trilogy series: Secrets of The Shetlands. I’ve had the pleasure to read and review all of them now. The mood today was just right for this ending to a very involved and well thought out set of books. Spanning decades and countries, family legacies and my favorite- the generations of Shetland Reef, a small  Scottish Island, The Legacy is rich with history and the native customs, culture, as well as the terrain, flora and fauna of the Islands.

Mr. Phillips takes you to Scotland, invites you to real tea and oatcakes and helps you begin to see and smell the misty air filled with the smoke of peat moss fires coming from the village. I enjoyed the walks among the sheep and wet moors along the cliffs, smelling the salt air as I read.

Today was still a far cry from the cool Shetlands here in my desert dwelling, where I have sweated through triple digit heat for longer than I care to. However, we did have clouds and a tiny (read tiny literally) bit of rain on our parched valley.

I spent the afternoon in front of an open window, with a cup of strong tea and savored not only the sparse rain and the cleansing scent that brings, but the last chapters of a novel I have become immersed in. The Legacy, coming after The Inheritance and The Cottage, answered all the questions and tied up all the loose ends that the other two novels wove throughout, keeping me curious and guessing and most of all- hooked. I dearly wanted answers and the ending didn’t disappoint. It gave me the satisfying ending I had hoped for.

It’s a long read, and it’s a good one. I recommend all three books to you as an escape to a rugged Island where everyone knows everyone else and their business. Or so they think. Travel to New York, for big city business, and Pennsylvania where you will stay with friendly Quakers. There will be a few rough people, and you may not like everyone, but you will meet some extraordinary people too, and come away with light in your heart toward fatherhood and The Fatherhood of God, and everything that means. You’ll respect family ties, even if you don’t always appreciate the ones you’re bound to in your family of origin. You’ll have a good bit of adventure and you’ll appreciate the natural sciences along with some of the characters you will come to know.

You will meet Winston Churchill in the pages during the war years and help the war effort with the very wise and dignified laird of Shetland Reef during that time period. I won’t give away anymore, but I wanted you to get a taste for this romantic novel that spans many generations and leads us quietly home. Thank you Mr. Phillips.

*I received this book for free from Baker Publishing in exchange for an unbiased written review

About the book:

The Dramatic Conclusion to the Secrets of the Shetlands

Loni Ford’s unexpected inheritance of substantial real estate–not to mention a title–in the Shetland Islands has caused more than a stir in the quiet fishing hamlet of Whales Reef. How can life ever be the same with an outsider–and a woman at that–playing such a pivotal role in the life of this traditional community? But it isn’t just the locals who have deep misgivings about the current situation. Loni herself never imagined this in her wildest dreams and wonders whether she’s cut out for it.

Loni would hardly let herself acknowledge that she’s falling in love–with Whales Reef, with its hardy people, and with local chieftain David Tulloch, whose inheritance she has usurped, at least in the eyes of some. Or has she merely been seduced by the simple, peaceful way of life that exists here?

Yet life in Whales Reef is rarely without drama. Deep rifts exist between certain lifelong neighbors, and when a dead body is discovered, suspicion is cast in the direction of the Tulloch family. How Loni and David face up to this challenge will profoundly shape their relationship, as well as the future of the island.



Book Review · christianity · country living · farm and ranch · flocks and herds · Writing

Scouting the Divine


Scouting the Divine: My Search for God in Wine, Wool, and Wild Honey by Margaret Feinberg was a catalyst to a journey for me. I have always loved animals and I’d even owned a few sheep, but I was’t serious about them. I was focused on my dairy goats and horses-both of which have completely different habits and personalities than sheep. They teach lessons too, but not the same I began to crave as I journeyed through this rich and tasty book.



After reading Scouting The Divine I had a new appreciation and wonderment for the valley I live in. There is an abundance of agriculture and the livelihoods of vey many people are centered on it. I am no stranger to farming. It’s valued and important work here. I am not a professional by any stretch of the imagination, but I have been enamored with all things farm since I could walk.

Scouting The Divine focuses on the lessons and illumination of Bible passages through the eyes of a shepherd, bee keeper, farmers, and a vintner. I am surrounded by all of those and have been some of those myself. I came away with a lot from that book. I developed an urge to know God’s shepherding heart better, and to understand His care for us through the stories of the Bible that describe Jesus as The Good Shepherd and through parables of sheep and shepherds. I began to pray for the understanding and felt I wanted a hands-on experience. I am blessed to live on a ranch where it’s possible for me begin a journey like that; as simply as making a phone call and handing over some cash or making a few trades.

I began some research into sheep breeds, and learned about fleeces and that’s an education in itself. I decided I’d like a dairy breed of sheep, since I’ve bred dairy goats for  well over a decade now. I enjoy sheep’s milk cheese and thought I could multi-task this project. (as I always do) I combed the online farming spots for sale adds and found a woman selling a flock of Icelandic sheep. I made arrangements to visit her and meet her sheep. It turned out she keeps several flocks of three different breeds of sheep.

Valerie was a willing educator and obviously loved her sheep. Her love of them was contagious and not only did I learn much more than I had anticipated, I made a new friend. But something else happened as well, something spectacular and unexpected. As a particularly friendly sheep was letting me pet and scratch her while she wagged her stubby tail wildly to let me know she liked me too, I dug my hands deeply into her fleece and examined the crimp of it. Then I had the irresistible urge to bury my face in her fleece and smell- it was intoxicating to me. I fell under the spell of sheep that day, and their fleeces. That sounds weird I know, but when you part the fleece there’s a smell I can’t describe. You are expecting it to be dirty and stink- I know! But a healthy sheep doesn’t stink to me. Or any other sheep-loving shepherd. It smells divine.

Fast forward two years and now I have a pair of young East Friesian ewes for milking, and a small flock of rare and wonderful Gotlands for fleece. They are a Swedish sheep and not allowed to be imported here, so “bred up” through a program here in the states. They grow a lustrous fleece of spiral curls in locks, of various shades in gray mainly, although you will see blacks and creams because of the breeding up with other similar breeds.


I have since then joined a group of mostly farming and fiber artist ladies in town to learn to spin this gorgeous stuff into yarn. I don’t crotchet or knit and really have no desire to learn, but I enjoy working with the fleece- it’s texture and it’s scent as it runs through my hands. The spinning is reward enough for me. It’s a relaxing and therapeutic thing to do – taking the time to completely focus and quiet myself. Art is always like that. Good for the brain, I say.

I have learned so much, made new and interesting friends, and I am on a journey moving closer to the heart of God every day. All this began from a book? yes, of course. The artistry of words is also intoxicating to me. There is endless value in the written word and there’s a reason so many of us love to crack open a book and take in a deep breath of the smell of  ink and paper, the promise of what we hope to find there, is food for the soul.

Thank you Margaret Feinberg for your gift with words and sharing them with us. You meant to inspire and inspire you have.

*If you have read the book, or done the DVD driven study with it ( have not) and would like updates on Paiget check out Margaret Feinberg’s posts on her website. 

I have linked two posts in that last sentence.

Psalm 104:14-15 “He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,

And vegetation for the service of man,

That he may bring food forth from the earth,

And wine that makes glad the heart of man,

Oil to make his face shine,

And bread which strengthens man’s