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

The Legacy

9780764217500

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.

 

SaveSave

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.

 

STD_COMBO_9fe87be0-344d-406e-b2e7-f586e7777723_large

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.

img_0475

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

heart.”

 

writer, homemaking, homeschooling, farm, ranch, christian, Bible, lifestyle · Writing

My Writing Space (s)

I have always wanted to write. I learned to read by age four and devoured books until my time belonged to raising babies. I still read of course, just not all day!

I love the written word dearly. It soothes me, inspires me, changes me and just plain makes me happy. I'm the kind of woman who would rather shop at an office supply store rather than the mall. Weird I know. A fresh, blank notebook and brand new pens and pencils… oh how I love 'em! Sticky notes?! Give them to me!

I've come to be okay with a new , blank word document too. 😊

I have 4 favorite writing spots at home. The one in the picture above is in our bedroom. (It's a huge room) this one is where I usually do most of my scheduling and self-study.

The photo below shows the desk in my office. (It's tiny) The desk is up against a fabulous window where I can see birds at the feeder or my barn and upper pasture. I never tire of this view, especially if the goats are there.

This is the space where I do most of my homeschool related stuff; also paperwork for my flock of sheep and herd of goats. They're all registered animals so aside from health records, keeping registrations straight keeps me busy.

Below is my dining room table which is basically control central. I do most things from this spot because it's the center of the house.

You're probably noticing that all my work spaces are cluttered. Well…if I don't see it, it might as well not exist. If something is out of place, it's because I'm leaving myself a reminder that it needs doing or tending.

This is a shot of my ewes. I find my soul is at rest when I'm surrounded by my flock of sheep. I had a craving to know firsthand all of the references the Lord uses in the Bible about shepherding. Sheep, a good shepherd , etc.

So I bought some. Typical me. Now I've set myself up as a breeder of two different breeds, and I've read widely and subscribed to magazines. I go full immersion for a while when I'm learning something new.
Sheep are peaceful, friendly creatures, and once they have bonded with you- and you'll know if they have- you're in for life. I like having an animal tribe that loves me no matter what.

My goats are my babies too. They are more rascally than the sheep and like a good romp, not quite as peaceful unless it's time for an afternoon cud chewing session.

Whenever I need a brain break from reading or writing I usually browse my phone but that's a bad habit I'd like to break. It's such a time waster. I do adore my cozy bed with Netflix on my iPad, but that's after the day is done.

No matter where I am, my little Magpie is at my feet.

The photo below shows my morning ritual. Morning Bible and prayer with Jesus and a mocha cappuccino made with raw goat milk. I'm also fond of raw sheep milk 😊

It's not at all unusual for me to have a small boy or curly top little girl playing on the floor during my morning time with the Lord.

Well, these are my favorite work spots. I'd love to hear about yours. If you've blogged about your spots, let me know in the comments so I visit please?

Firefighter, paramedic, parenting, community service

Hot As Fire

I don’t know what the weather is like where you live, but where we live it’s hot and sunny most every day. I mean really hot. Occasionally in the evenings it’s windy, but usually that means a very warm wind that sucks the life out of leaves. I don’t garden much for that reason. Our ranch is set on a hill without a shelter from the wind.  Once in a great while during the dog days of summer, there is a cool , crisp breeze that is refreshing beyond words.

We live in an area known for wildfires. We have had so many this year already that I have lost count. All over, you will spot burnt hillsides and pastures, but always right up to an orchard, home, or other valuable area. It’s really something, how these brave men and women battle fires in 90+ degrees and manage to save livelihoods and homes. I know people are grateful but wouldn’t it be nice if they showed it more? So often the ones tirelessly battling these fires are away from their loved ones, hungry, hot, and thirsty- not to mention the danger they are in.

The firefighters do an amazing job; we rarely lose people or even homes. You have to hand it to them, yet few folks take action by stopping by the stations with water bottles, snacks, and meals. It’s a shame. I know for fact they do appreciate it.

My husband is an officer in a fire department, and also a paramedic. He is out fighting fire today. Firefighter and police officers wives (and husbands) live in a state of constant prayerfulness on shift days.

And soon as my husband kisses me goodbye at 3:30 in the morning I begin praying until I fall asleep again. And usually during my morning barn chores, coffee and Bible time, and even hustling through a busy morning I am sending up short and desperate prayers for my husband. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t make it without me 🙂

                 If you get the chance, show some love to our fire fighters and police ❤️

Book Review · flocks and herds · jews, nazis, holocaust · Uncategorized · writer, homemaking, homeschooling, farm, ranch, christian, Bible, lifestyle · WWII

Love in a Time of Hate Review

Love in a Time of Hate by author Hanna Schott is the story of Magda and André Trocmé and a quiet french village and surrounding farms that protected Jews from the Nazis in an organized passive resistance. The Trocmés lived what they believed and preached their entire lives and all over the world.

This book is intensely researched and written with skill and style. The author does herself credit with this book. She has an obvious gift for communication.

61y2X6wgkYL

Being a reader who loves good historical books, and an avid reader of them set in the WWII years, I have read countless stories of seemingly common folk prevailing against the Nazis. They are, in fact, my favorite stories to read. This book was an intriguing read and Magda and André fascinating people.  I do recommend this book for the telling of historical fact and of heroic people that shouldn’t be forgotten in my opinion.

The real-life heroes in this book, brought to life by the artful pen of the author, will keep you turning pages. The book is well-written, a history lesson without being the least bit dull.

I came to admire the people in Love in a Time of Hate and what they did and how they lived. I admired very much the writing of Hanna Schott.

I was however disturbed to read in the middle of page 166:

“Now once again people are being persecuted in the most horrific ways: hundreds of thousands of Christians, Jews, and democrats….”

Um…what?

That’s right. She included democrats. One of these things is not like the others…Hanna Schott may be a great author, but this word doesn’t belong here. Does she mean democrats here in the U.S.? The ones rioting and looting? Starting fires and destroying property after they lost the election? Calling for violence and all the rest? Because I can’t for the life of me figure out who else she could be referring to. I do hope she’s talking about those against socialism in other countries.

On page 171 I read a portion of the book that resonated with my heart. Read:

Whoever offers someone asylum bears the responsibility for whatever happens within that space, even if it is someone else who actually does the harm. If André and Edouard, together with everyone else ready to join in this task, were to make Le Chambon into a city of refuge, then they would have to answer to God for everything that happened there. It was their responsibility not only to do good, but also to prevent evil from happening.

Amen sister.

This morning I watched my livestock guardian dog chase off a coyote across a neighboring pasture into the apple orchard a mile away. While the dog was busy with the decoy, another large coyote moved in sideways across the pasture on the left side towards my pasture- which is filled with helpless sheep, goats, chickens, and tasty kittens. You see, it was planned. The coyotes, actively hunting my property to feed dens of pups this time of year, tried to lure my guard away so the other could move in and make a grab. It might have worked except for my two small ankle biters: chihuahua mix dogs that put their bodies in-between the coyotes and flocks at the top of the hill and barked for all they were worth, thereby alerting me to the second coyote moving in. Brave little souls with their tiny barks. I know what they feel like. Getting my drift?

Here’s the difference between me and some people: I understand my responsibility. I am responsible for those helpless beings in my pasture. I am on alert, and have a gun, which I will use against my enemy the coyote. Do I understand the coyote may be hungry? Have pups to feed? Yes, but the coyote isn’t my charge. He may not come marauding on my land, and do violence to those dependent upon me for their safety without putting himself at great risk. Because he comes seeking to kill and destroy the innocent in my sphere.

Most people, not living in harmony with nature or agriculture any longer aren’t aware of simple things like a baiting tactic or a decoy plan used by  animals in order to take territory or make a kill.

This comes into my mind immediately when I  live so closely to my animals, involved in pastoral life. So, when I see a huge influx of middle eastern refugees, many, many of them men of fighting age, I can’t help wonder…are the others in the crowds the decoys? You should wonder too. It’s not immoral to care and protect your own. It’s immoral not to care for those who need your protection.

There are so many liberal christians spouting off verses from the Bible and applying them to taking personal risks and loving others. Is it truly loving to take away protection from some in order to give it to others? No, I will contend with that line of thinking as mere popular opinion and a neglect of the verses discussing taking care of the innocent, widows and orphans and especially neighbors which may be any of those, who we are called to love.

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

Uncategorized

Busy Hands

My hands are busy all day long. They do hard and wonderful things. I love my hands. Sadly they are damaged and overworked and both need surgery sooner than I had hoped. However I wanted to share some of the lovely and productive beauty they create and cultivate before they take turns being cut and wrapped. 😜

Book Review · Uncategorized

High As The Heavens Review

9780764217814

 

You know every time I read a new book from this author it’s better and better. She is a fine story crafter. High as The Heaves is so very well written. I loved it. I seriously did! It’s a story told in a setting so believably real with characters so well developed you fall for them. The research and the details meticulously done and the book well-written and seamless. I will say gladly this is a must read for those like me who love historical fiction. Even if you don’t, this one may change our mind.

I enjoyed Kate’s other novels, truly, but this one is the high point of her writing career in my opinion. This author just improves and gets better every time.

Eve’s secrets just about undo her, and the plot twists and turns and keeps you guessing. The bad guys are bad and who knows who the good guys are? Who can you trust in war time, occupied by the enemy and surrounded by spies and agents, double agents and a liability every place you turn? Trying to rescue and help those who need help, protecting those who need protection and even trying to protect those who don’t know they need it. The main character in this novel rarely sleeps and that will be your lot too when you get involved with her story- sleepless nights because it’s hard to put this book down.

Of course there’s romance. I can tell you there’s a love story interweaved in a dangerous web of lies and deceit. This is a novel you will want your best friend to read, but you’ll want it back to read again later if you’re anything like me.

Romance, danger, faith, strong characters and a wild ride. What’s not to like?

~~~~~~~~~~

About

A British nurse in WWI German-occupied Brussels, Evelyn Marche spends her days at the hospital and her nights working at a café . . . or so it seems. Eve’s most carefully guarded secret is that she also spends her nights carrying out dangerous missions as a spy for a Belgian resistance group.

When a plane crashes as she’s en route to a rendezvous, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to recognize the badly injured pilot as British RFC Captain Simon Forrester. She risks her life to conceal him from the Germans, but as the secrets between them grow and the danger mounts, can they still hope to make it out of Belgium alive?

Kate Breslin

A Florida girl who migrated to the Pacific Northwest, Kate Breslin was a bookseller for many years. She is the author of For Such a Time and lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington. Find her online at http://www.katebreslin.com.

*I was given this book from Bethany House Publishers in order to review

artisan cheesemaking · Book Review · country living · farm and ranch · flocks and herds · Uncategorized · writer, homemaking, homeschooling, farm, ranch, christian, Bible, lifestyle

Summer Livin’

I’m sure some of you spend summers traveling and lolling about in lounge chairs, reading by your pool. Well, lots of people around here do that anyway. It’s hot! I love those things too, and I’m already nut-brown, which is an act of God Almighty for this freckled woman of Irish and Swedish descent; but bound to happen if there’s enough time in the hot desert sun.

 

I’m spending my afternoons reading good fiction, eating campari tomatoes with mineral salts and sublime garlic and rosemary chèvre I’ve made from the milk of my pet goats. I’m feeling very bohemian these days, sipping sun tea or else my own twice fermented berry kombucha.

Evenings are for grilling on the Traegar, watering the flowers and hanging out with the grown up kids or else reading books on writing.

Always there are the myriad of chores required when a person like me owns horses, goats, sheep, chickens, cats, dogs and a goose. Then there’s the Sugar Gliders, tortoise, fish, indoor plants and various ferments on the kitchen counter that all require daily care and feeding.

Once in awhile I clean up the house and do some laundry…so no, I don’t go on vacation. I do mini vacays at home. I live on a ranch surrounded on every side by either more horses or else apple orchards. Many people would pay money to come here and I don’t lose sight of that. A mini vacation for me means brewing up a good goat milk mocha cappuccino and immersing into a good read. Preferably in the sunshine lounging next to the kiddie pool while the little people splash and argue over something stupid. Like a rock. But hey, kids. Maybe we can scratch that last part and describe the vacation with the kids away for the day.

😄

Yes, that’s better.

I’ve always treated myself to as many quiet mornings in my Bible as possible, followed of course by the inevitable milking of the gots and the rest of chores . However, it’s made more palatable by the fact that I know I can either choose to make a cheddar cheese, batch of feta, chèvre or even goat milk soap.

Recently my youngest son and I attended and were even entered (this time) in a miniature dairy goat show. It was something we could do together and help him develop some social skills and livestock showing skills. It turned out to be great fun and we will likely do it again next year. The little red dueling pictured took a 1st and we were surprised and pleased by that.

Come to think of it, I’m still crazy busy, it just seems more relaxing for the afternoons in the sun. Maybe being tan makes me feel like I’ve accomplished more relaxation and self-care than I actually have. Who cares, I’m tan.

Maybe I’ll get a pedicure and that will make it seem like I’m pampering and resting.

 

 

 

SaveSave

Book Review · christianity · country living · farm and ranch · Uncategorized

Back In The Saddle Review

Ruth Logan Herne…

What more an I say that I haven’t already said about this wonderful author from my reviews of her other two books in this trilogy?

9780735290655

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that Blogging For Books was offering this book up for reviews after already being able to read and review book #2 then #3. It’s so rare to be able to get review copies for an entire series.

I was thrilled because I so enjoyed the others. The books are wholesome and well-written inspiration western fiction romance. How’s that for a mouthful? I don’t even know if I got that in the right order, but whatever. All you need to know is the books are a good escape in a crazy world.

I really enjoyed the story of how Colt and Angelina fell in love. Knowing the characters from the other books, I was pretty curious as to how their romance came about. This book didn’t disappoint. Great characters, a richly beautiful and vibrant setting you can get lost in. I loved this book and all 3 books in the series. If you’re looking for some summer reading, these will definitely do. But you’ll have to get your own. I’ve already lent these to a friend. 🙂

From the Publisher’s website:

About Back in the Saddle

The Prodigal Is Coming Home

It’s been a long time since Colt Stafford shrugged off his cowboy legacy for shiny Manhattan loafers and a promising career on Wall Street. But when stock market manipulations leave him financially strapped, the oldest son of legendary rancher Sam Stafford decides to return to the sprawling Double S ranch in Gray’s Glen, Washington. He’s broke, but not broken, and it’s time to get his legs back under him by climbing into the saddle again.

He doesn’t expect to come home to a stranger pointing a loaded gun at his chest— a tough yet beautiful woman that Sam hired as the house manager. Colt senses there’s more to Angelina Morales than meets the eye, and he’s determined to find out what she’s hiding…and why.

Colt’s return brings new challenges. Younger brother Nick, who’s longbeen Sam’s right-hand man,isn’t thrilled when Colt inserts himself into Double S affairs. And the ranch’s contentious relationship with the town’s people forces  all the Stafford men to reconsider what it truly means to be a neighbor.  As Wall Street recovers, will Colt succumb to the call of the financial district—or stay in the saddle for good?

 

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Uncategorized

She Doesn’t Know Me But

I love this woman at church. I’ve never met her, but I see her every week. She sits in a row in the middle like me, about 3 rows ahead of me. Yes, we are both obviously  creatures of habit; another reason to love her.

159836102

I see the back of her head all service, so it’s really her hair that strikes the chord. That amazing, big, teased and sprayed goofy hair. I grew up with women who did their hair just like that. Gramma, mom, and aunts. That hair, teased up to heaven and sprayed was an ungodly sight. It signified fast, loose women who smoked, cultivated dirty minds and flirted and swore like sailors. How I loved and hated them at times, those women. But man, we danced in the kitchen and were baudy and funny.

On good days those women included me in the familial feminine circle, and taught me to apply make-up with a heavy hand and tease my hair. They cooked delicious food when they were motherly and domestic feeling, and made our family a community. A large, dysfunctional, messy group, but we loved each other. Back in those days, when Gramma, her Ronald mcDonald red hair, shampooed and set every friday, and Grampa, the greasy slicked back stuck-in-the-50’s hair- handsome and funny, were the glue that held the family together. Albeit by a tiny, tenuous thread. They’re gone now- Gramma and Gramma, my constants and my champions. But I miss them, and I miss the way the family was then in some respects. We belonged to each other and had each other’s backs, even if the adults were known to stab each other in it once or twice.

So that woman in church, she reminds me of a childhood time when I belonged to a bunch of foul -mouthed women with big hair and kohl-lined eyes. Only they would never step foot in a church. I loved them, so I love her. Don’t stop coming to church lady!