Saturday, November 15

Christmas Book Swap

I've had quite a few say that they would like to take part in a Christmas book swap. This will be loads of fun and we must get the books in the mail by December 5th to be sure that everyone receives theirs before Christmas. So I'm going to make the deadline to sign up November 25th. This will give me time to partner everyone, gather the addresses and let everyone know who their partner is.

Now for the rules. The books have to be Christmas books, either fiction or non-fiction. Christmas decor and cooking magazines are fine if your partner agrees. Talk to your partner and find out the type of books they like and then send them a book or magazine that they can enjoy. Please do not send books that are not Christmas oriented.

Please, if you sign up, be sure that you send a book. What a disappointment to sign up for a swap and receive nothing after you have done your best to send your partner a book that they will enjoy.

These are the ladies that have signed up so far:

Denise at Samaritan Women

Paula at The Magic Bookcase

Sharon at Sit With Me A While

Stacey at Staceys Treasures

Amy at I Love Retro Things

Please take a copy of the above graphic and post about it so others will be able to participate if they wish. Thanks to all the ladies who have signed up so far.

The rest of my post is not such good news. Aunt May was taken to the hospital last night. She is not able to eat, or simply won't eat, saying that she doesn't want her stomach to become upset. She is very frail. Please keep her in your prayers, that the doctors will have the wisdom to allow her to go home in peace and not force her to suffer more than she already has. ~Blessings, Mary~

Friday, November 14

In Search of Eden

This week I'd like to tell you about a book that I bought a couple of weeks ago. It is titled In Search of Eden. The story is of a young woman who was forced to give her baby up for adoption eleven years ago. She writes: Today is your birthday... I want you to know that you are in my heart, as you always have been. I pray for you every day. I pray I did the right thing...

Dorrie has grown up and her mother, who forced her to give the baby away has died. Now Dorrie is determined to find the baby that she held for only a few minutes when a nurse sneaked it to her room a few hours after it was born. Dorrie's search seems impossible. She doesn't have any idea if the baby is a boy or a girl. She has no clue as to where it might be. She has searched in Chicago, Montana, New York City, Pittsburgh, San Jose, and Seattle. Clues finally lead her to Abingdon, Virginia.

Things start off on the wrong foot when Dorries pulls into Abingdon when the local cop pulls her over and gives her the third degree. With the help of a young girl, she is able to find a temporary position as a waitress at the local diner and an apartment over the local funeral home.

It took only a few pages before Nichols had me hooked. Where was Dorrie's baby? What gender was it? Would she find her child or wonder for the rest of her life where it was and if it was living a life that she would approve of.

Dorrie's mother was the villian in this story, but when Dorrie finds out about her mother's past, she takes a different view. The woman had lived a childhood of horror, which had influenced her decision to make Dorrie give up her baby. What secrets lie within the story? What is the skeleton in the family closet? The story is set in small town America. The characters are believeable but the story line would have been more believeable had it been set in the late 50s or 60s. However, I found this an easy and light read and thoroughly enjoyed it. Be sure to pick up a copy at the local bookstore or library. You'll be glad you did.

If you are interested in taking part in a Christmas book swap, please leave a comment. It's always nice to have a great book to read over the holidays. I will be giving more particulars in tomorrow's post.

Have a great weekend and remember to take some time to have fun with your family. ~Blessings, Mary~

Thursday, November 13

Thankful Thursday

Today is Thankful Thursday. It is a day when we list the things we are thankful for. If you would like to participate, be sure to stop by Sting My Heart and pay Iris a visit. You can find all the information there.

This week, once again, I have much to be thankful for.

* Food on the table and a warm place to stay. There are many that don't have these necessities of life.

* For a husband who will lend a hand around the house when I need it.

* A mother who is in fairly good health. I am so lucky to have her. She is 81 years old and is very independent.

* For phone calls from Aunt May. She phoned to let me know that she isn't doing well. She is losing strength day by day and can barely lift her cane. Please pray for her.

* Phone calls from Brandon and Jordan. They always brighten my day.

* For lovely autumn weather. Even though it's been chilly, it's been bright and sunny the last few days and I've been able to get outdoors and enjoy the sights, sounds and fragrances of the season.

* For the night sky - the stars and the moon. It's wonderful to see its beauty as I take Meeko for his nightly walk.

* For Meeko who makes us smile and sometimes even laugh out loud. He is a great companion.

* Most of all this week, I am thankful for the veterans who fought for our freedom and the soldiers who are deployed in Afghanistan. May they be abundantly blessed for their service.

I enjoyed many Veteran's and Remembrance Day posts this week and enjoyed each and every one.

The cards for my soldier's card shower are coming in daily. Thanks to each of you that have participated. S is going to be thrilled when she opens the package with all of the cards.

Have a great day and remember to do a random act of kindness. Sometimes a smile is all it takes to brighten someone's day. ~Blessings, Mary~

Tuesday, November 11

The Torch of Remembrance

I would like to introduce my readers to John Babcock. John is Canada's last surviving WWI veteran. He is 108 years old and today he lives in Spokane, Washington.

On November 11, 2008, John passed the Remembrance Torch, a sacred symbol of the Royal Canadian Legion, by video to a WWII veteran at the Remembrance Day ceremonies at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. The WWII veteran then physically passed the torch to a veteran of the Korean War, who passed it to a veteran peacekeeper, who then passed it to a veteran of Afghanistan who is still on active duty.

John Babcock is not in good health and could not physically attend the ceremonies but was proud to do his part by video. The passing of the Torch of Remembrance took place after the Act of Remembrance, which was followed by two minutes of silence.

I found the passing of the Torch of Remembrance very fitting. It honored veterans of every war from WWI to present day. It signifies the line in John McCrae's poem, In Flanders Fields, that states: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. (If you aren't familiar with the poem, you can read it in my previous post. )

This Remembrance Day was the 90th Anniversary of Armistice, which took place on the 11th day, the 11th hour of the 11th month. Many dignitaries attended as did thousands of people, but the ones that really mattered were the hundreds of veterans who stood in the cold November wind to pay tribute to their comrades who were lost in battle, as well as veterans past, present and future. I'm so glad that John Babcock was able to be part of this historic day.

Remembrance Day - Lest We Forget

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; in land and sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved, and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders Fields.

Take up the quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders Fields

Author John McCrae

Significance of the words in the poem

"In Flanders Fields" was written by Canadian doctor John McCrae on May 13, 1915. As dawn crept over the eastern sky, John watched the horrific scenes of a battle unfold. Men were dying by the hundreds.

John noticed that though the guns barked and men screamed, the larks were still flying overhead, singing bravely. He looked across Flanders fields and noticed the field was thick with scarlet poppies. John quickly penned the poem.

John's poem holds many images of battle. The red poppies symbolizes the blood that was shed. The crosses tell of the sacrifice given by the soldiers. The larks singing amidst the roaring of the guns give us contrast. Dawn and sunset represent life and death.

John's poem sails across our imaginations, creating realistic images that we can relate to. A great tribute to all those who gave their lives.

Fast Facts:
"In Flanders Fields" was published in Punch, a British newspaper, on December 8, 1915. Today, it is used in celebrations of remembrance all over the world.

An interesting fact about this poem is that John threw it away. A friend of his picked it up and submitted it to publishers.

Flanders was named after the farmer who owned the fields where the soldiers were fighting. His name was Flanders. There were no poppies there until the tanks churned up the soil. This is how poppies are germinated - by churning up the soil.

McCrae House, the home of John McCrae, located in Guelph, Ontario, is now a museum. Click on the link to visit the website.

Wear a poppy on November 11th. Shake the hand of a veteran and thank him/her for their sacrifice. For without their sacrifice we would not live in freedom.

God Bless all veterans and the deployed soldiers who are fighting today.

For more information on the 90th Anniversary of the end of WWI, be sure to visit Ruth at Body, Soul and Spirit.

Sunday, November 9

Canada's Nursing Sisters

Canadian Nursing Sisters
at No. 3 Casualty Nursing Station
July 1916

In 1885, during the North West Rebellion, Canadian nurses were deployed to care for soldiers for the first time in history. These nurses all belonged to religious order and were designated as Nursing Sisters.

Ever since that time, Nursing Sisters have done their part to care for Canadian soldiers who were fighting. They accompanied the Royal Canadian Dragoons to the Klondike in 1898. Their job there was to assist the Royal Canadian Mounted Police during the gold rush.

From 1914 to 1918, over 3,000 Canadian nurses volunteered their services during WWI. In the beginning they were kept away from the action, but when Casualty Clearing Stations were set up near the Front, the nurses were desperately need to give immediate medical aid to the wounded. Many lives were saved by these brave women who put themselves in danter to tend to wounded soldiers.

WWI claimed the lives of 46 Nursing Sisters from across Canada. Three died when the military hospital in Etaples France was deliberately bombed. Three were killed while in active service while 15 died of disease. Another 15 died when the Llandovery Castle, a hospital ship, was sunk and 7 died after arriving home due to circumstances linked to their service overseas.

During WWII, 4,473 Nursing Sisters served within the Army, Navy and Air Force. Many of these women found themselves at the Front and well within range of enemy guns. Their bravery and determination never wavered. They had a job to do and they did it willingly. Nursing Sisters also served in Korea and Japan during the Korean Conflict of the early 1950s.

Today, Nursing Sisters are known as Nursing Officers. They served in the Gulf War and have aided Canadian peace keepers in Bosnia, Rwanda and Somolia.

These women are unsung heroes who often don't get the recognition that they deserve. As Remembrance Day (November 11) approaches, I would like to recognize these women who have given of themselves to bring our soldiers safely home.

Have a wonderful week and take a few minutes to remember the fallen and those who have given of themselves, that we might live in freedom. ~Blessings, Mary~