Saturday, April 11

His Name is Jesus by Max Lucado

Recently, Thomas Nelson Publishers sent me the book His Name is Jesus, by Max Lucado to read and review.

When the book arrived, it was beautifully packaged in its own sturdy slipcover...a perfect gift for those who enjoy reading about the life of Jesus.
His Name is Jesus follows the footsteps of Jesus from his birth to his resurrection and beyond. Stunning illustrations allow you to see the glory of God's handiwork as you take the journey of His life.

Evident throughout the entire book is Max Lucado's powerful style of writing that has touched hearts the world over. He shows us the cold, drafty stable where Jesus was born and allows us a glimpse into the lives of Mary and Joseph. You will smell the fragrance of newly worked wood as Jesus goes about his daily life as a carpenter. You'll meet the woman who touched the hem of His garment, the leper who was healed and Lazarus, as he's raised from the dead.
You'll dine with Jesus and His disciples at the Last Supper, and spend time with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. You'll feel His agony as He prays just before Judas brings the soldiers to take Him captive. You'll feel His exhaustion and excruciating pain as he bears the Cross, is nailed to it and gives up His life to save the sinners of the world.

Experience joy when Mary leads John and Peter to the Tomb and then realizes He has risen. You'll see His face and feel His presence as you read of the legacy He has left each of us.

This book is a poignant and heart touching look at the life of one man who changed the history of the world. It was especially touching to read during the week prior to Easter.

If you are interested in purchasing this beautifully written and illustrated book, it can be bought Here.

Happy Easter to all my friends and readers. ~Blessings, Mary~

Friday, April 10

Book Giveaway Winner

Thanks to everyone who participated in my book giveaway for my 600th post. I appreciate your kind words and support. So, without further ado,

number 36, which is Nancy of Nancy's Nonsense. Congratulations, Nancy. I know you will enjoy reading Just Jane. This is the time stamp. Timestamp: 2009-04-11 00:06:15 UTC

In other news, Brandon called after school on Thursday to see if he could come and stay the night. Jordan was going to stay over at a friend's house. I picked up Brandon and he was a great help. He played with Dakota and kept him busy. My legs were giving me a lot of pain and Brandon was a great help. We went to return a pair of jeans I'd purchased a couple of weeks ago and the place was packed. Not only were people looking for Easter items, but it was Midnight Madness and it was a mad house.

Then we looked at the Buy and Sell Shop. Brandon likes to look for games there. He buys used ones that are in good condition and he found one that he liked. $10, which is a far cry for the $60 they want for new games.

Then we stopped in at the pet store and he bought Dakota a little squeaky hedgehog for Easter. Dakota loved it and Brandon and the pup had a lot of fun playing with it. Brandon would throw it and Dakota would run, pick it up and then bring it back. The only problem is, he hates to leave go of it once it's in his mouth, but he's learning.

Brandon went home about 3pm today and by that time I was bushed. I took some Tylen*ol and laid down to read for a bit. It was nice to relax with a good book.

I wish all of my friends and readers a Happy Easter. The graphic above is a little gift from me to you. Feel free to take a copy for your sidebar. ~Blessings, Mary~

Turn the Page Tuesday and a Giveaway

This is a sticky post and will remain at the top until Friday April 10th when the drawing will take place. For recent posts, please scroll down.
Adrienne over at Some of a Kind is hosting Turn the Page...Tuesday, a book review/recommendation on the first Tuesday of the month. I found this at Paula's blog and since I often write book reviews, I thought I'd take part.

I read this book last fall and have been meaning to do a review of it. I enjoy Nancy Moser's books about women of history. The first book I read of hers was Mozart's Sister. When I saw Just Jane on sale at the local pharmacy, I just had to have it.

The name Jane Austen is well known in the literary world. Jane's life has always been the subject of curiosity for those who love her works. Now, author, Nancy Moser, brings Jane alive in her book, Just Jane.

Just Jane is narrated in the first person by Jane herself. Moser had brought Jane to life to tell her story as it has never been told before. The book begins with Jane almost engaged to an Irishman, Tom Lefoy. She has a work in progress titled First Impressions. The world will come to know it as Pride and Prejudice.

Jane spends her time writing, playing the piano, and visiting friends and family throughout their section of England. Other prospects do come along for Jane, but the possibility of marriage is either disrupted or refused. Jane is presented as being strong, stubborn and immature as well as loving, passionate, and rooted. She experiences loss, change in status, and defining moments in her adult life. As Jane ages, her focus shifts from finding a husband to finding a way to publish her books. In this way, her identity slowly develops.

Her narration is journal-like, reflective and descriptive. The story moves along through the letters that Jane writes and receives telling her news and gossip. Even the worst tragedies do not linger with her nor effect her in the long run until the death of her father comes. Then, Jane’s now widowed mother must be supported with help from Jane’s brothers to sustain a modest lifestyle for she and her two spinster daughters, forcing Jane to see that her stubborn refusal to marry has made her a burden in life.

As a writer, Jane does everything a writer is not supposed to do. She writes only when in an ideal mood. She takes rejection personally, and she dwells on the opinions of her readers. However, in managing her writing career her own way, she finds the modest success, personal fulfillment, and financial aid needed to fulfill her purpose in life.

Author Nancy Moser has done her research, using actual letters received and sent by Jane Austen. The book is well written, well researched and one that I throughly enjoyed reading.

Since I am nearing my 600th post, I am going to give my copy of this book to one lucky person. Just leave a comment and your name will be entered into a draw to win. The deadline for the drawing will be Friday April 10th at 8pm EST. I will announce the winner that evening or on Saturday. Be sure to tell others about the giveaway so they can drop by and enter. ~Blessings, Mary~

Thursday, April 9

Plumbers Here Today

The plumbers arrived bright and early this morning to dig up my flower bed and fix what they thought was a broken pipe. I was a little skeptical of them doing it today in case they ran into problems. Tomorrow being Good Friday means that everything is closed and if there was a problem, we would have had to live with it over the weekend.

A young man named Jamie begin to dig out the hole. I think they thought it would be a breeze digging it out to at least 5 foot deep. I tried to tell them that the huge maple at the end of the driveway had roots running everywhere in the yard and also this property is full of rocks and gravel.
Poor Jamie. By 10 am, he had this much dirt dug out of the hole and that was constant digging. They put all of the dirt on pieces of wood in hopes that it would be easier to put back into the hole.

Here is Jamie in the hole. Yes, it was deep...much over the 5 feet they had hoped for. The pipe that you see goes into the ground where it meets the sewer pipe that leads to the street. The problem was where the pipe comes through the foundation and leads into the sewer pipe. However, the news was good. The pipe wasn't broken after all. It had just become separated at the seam. The contractor who did our previous repair for this problem in 2002, hadn't sealed the pipe properly. This is why we're having all the problems now. So they cut the pipe, put two connections in there to make it straight instead of being on an angle. They had it all done and left about 3 pm. No chipping out the foundation as we had originally thought. Just digging and repairing the pipe. That's the best news we've had about plumbing in years.

So, we received a blessing today and I'm happy. We don't know what the total bill is, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

Enjoy the Easter weekend and remember the significance of the holiday. ~Blessings, Mary~

Wednesday, April 8

A Blue Heron and Canada Geese

On Tuesday, I picked the boys up from school. While I was waiting for the boys to get out, a pair of Canadian geese flew right over the road beside the school. They were very low in the sky. It was as if I could reach out and touch them. I put my hand in my pocket when I saw them camera. I remembered that I had taken the camera out of my pocket to recharge the batteries.

Brandon asked me if I would drive him to the grocery store. Michelle is still recuperating from her surgery and is unable to drive. I told him sure. Jordan stayed home with Mom and Brandon and I set out to do our shopping.

On our way home, we passed the pond where the Canada geese have been hanging out. We figure that they are going to nest there. I told Brandon I thought the geese I had seen over at the school was the same pair. We stopped by the side of the road to see if we could spot them. They weren't there.

Just as I was getting ready to pull away, Brandon said, "Grandma, there's a big bird in there. I just saw it flap its wings." He pointed it out.

A beautiful Great Blue Heron was standing in the marsh and moving slowly toward the pond. We watched it for between 10 and 15 minutes. How interesting to see this magnificient bird searching for a meal. Brandon couldn't believe that it could stand perfectly still for such a long time.

"If it hadn't flapped its wings, I wouldn't have seen it," he told me. We marveled at how close its colour was to the marshy wetland.

It was an interesting moment for both of us and one that neither of us will soon forget. This is something that I really should write in Brandon's journal. Since the boys were little, I've been keeping journals for both of them, but haven't written in them for sometime. It's time to dust them off and make some notes to help them remember one day when they are older.

I also want to start a family journal for each of them that tells of family history. Who was who, when they were born, who they married, how many kids they had and when they passed on. I really need to get at this, as once Mom is gone, I will have lost a fountain of knowledge.

Do you keep a journal for your kids or grandkids? If so, what kind is it? Is it a family history journal or a memories journal?
Well, tomorrow is the day when the plumbers come to dig up the flower bed, chip away the foundation and replace the broken pipe. Then they will have to mix cement, patch the foundation and replace all of the soil. They are to be here at 8:30 AM. It's going to be a stressful day and another day of searching out a washroom at the gas station. I will be glad when it's over. I'm going to try to get some photos. We shall see. ~Blessings, Mary~

Monday, April 6

Writing from the Heart

Tonight was my third writer's guild meeting and I'm glad I went. There was quite a bit of news and we did a writing exercise on writing from the heart. To be more specific, the exercise was to be on grief. We were to write something about a person or a pet that had passed on.

I have had many stories published that were based on life experiences, including grief. Writing from the heart is the easiest form of writing for me because I have lived, breathed and felt it. We had twenty minutes to do the exercise. This is what I wrote:

An Ode to Aunt May

We talked, we laughed, we were always close.
We shared good times and bad,
We held each other up
When we faced difficult times.

Then...breast cancer
You were diagnosed.
Every woman's fear and I feared for your well being
After surgery, the doctors said it was beaten.

Two years later...excruiciating pain and they said sciatica,
You knew they were wrong, but they wouldn't listen.
It was bone cancer...stage four by the time they found it...
A trying time for everyone concerned.

Throughout your ordeal for the next two years,
We talked of life, things you'd experienced
Your childhood
Happy times of long ago.

We talked of death
How we felt about it...
What we believed...
What we had been taught.

One day you said to me,
"I wish it was over."
I told you that it was your choice...
That you had suffered enough.

The next day, you were admitted
To Pallitive Care.
I fed you your last spoonful of food
And gave you your last sip of water.

Everyday for ten days,
I visited you, talked to you.
Your only reponse
Was to open your eyes occassionally.

I held your hand
And you knew I was there.
Then finally, it was over,
You slipped away and went Home.

This week you would have turned seventy-six.
I thought of you and wished it could have been different.
I haven't been forgotten.
I will remember you with love throughout eternity.
And as long as you are remembered,
Your spirit will never die.

The exercise was done by all the writers present and about half of us read them. All the stories and poems brought tears from many of the members of the group, but it was one that was necessary. It was our way of celebrating Holy Week with a tribute to a loved one who had passed. ~Blessings, Mary~

Sunday, April 5

The Rock & Gem Show

The first weekend in April, the Rock & Gem Show takes place in Paris, Ontario. I don't go every year, but Michelle and Barry always takes the boys. It's been tradition since they were little. They love going and since Michelle is laid up recovering from her surgery, I told her I would take them.

We entered Paris and the main street was jammed up with traffic, so I made a detour and took a back street along the Grand River. The town has made a place to pull off the road for an overlook and so we decided to stop. The Grand is quite high right now from the recent rains and the rapids were boiling. A nice view of the walk bridge and there is a trail here that I didn't know about. We plan to go back and take a hike.
We arrived at the Rock & Gem show about 12:30 pm and the first thing we saw was the table above. These were all labeled as diamonds. Some of the rocks were for sale and most of them were very pricey.
When we stepped into the main auditorium, this is the first thing we saw. All kinds of jewelry made of amber and the colors varied quite a bit. I prefer the darker colored pieces. We also saw pieces of raw amber. It is rough and very light. Do you know what amber is? Fossilized resin from ancient forests.

The large purple pieces in the background are amethyst, which is Michelle's birthstone. She had asked Jordan to buy her a piece and he found a nice sized one about 2 inches square for $4.99. Brandon gave him $2.50 and they went together to buy it for their mother. What nice boys.
One of the display tables. Jordan loves the colored pieces. He buys one every year. This year he bought a red piece. It cost him $5.00, which isn't bad. He wanted the very large red one, but it was $20 and he knew that if he bought it, he wouldn't get anything else.

On a table were surprise bags. They are filled with sand and rocks. The boys each bought one. Then this nice man helped them put the contents of the bags through a sifter.
Brandon also enjoys doing this. It's fun to see what you get. Both boys got a fossil that is over 300,000 years old. They come from Ontario and another man at the table told the boys where to go to look for them. I think that will be on the agenda for summer holidays. They are both rock hounds.
The above display was very pretty and so unique. I love the large stone on the back right. I also liked the blue one in the center.
A close up of the shimmering stone. Can't think of the technical term for it right at the moment. This rock came from Labrador. I would love to find something like that and so would the boys. It was awesome. The photo doesn't really do it justice.
There was a Native Canadian man there carving stone. I asked him if I could take a photo of his art and he was quite happy to let me do so. We saw him carving a bit and it was very interesting to watch.

Quartz crystals in the foreground and amethyst down the right side of the table.

All kinds of beautiful items from jewelry to animals. There were even wooden stacking dolls.

Lots of beautiful colors on this table and almost any kind of stone you could want. These are already polished and are perfect for making jewelry. You just glue them into the settings. This man also sold jewelry that he has made. Some pieces were quite nice.

As you can see, there are some nice pieces here. And yes, they remind you at every turn that they take Visa.

Brandon and Jordan back at the van. It was a beautiful day and we really didn't need our jackets. Brandon bought a turtle for $1.00 and another piece for $8.00. Both boys enjoy this show a lot and look forward to going every year. I enjoyed seeing all the beautiful stones and minerals that the Earth provides for our pleasure. What awesome things the Earth can turn out.

I hope you enjoyed coming along with the boys and I to the Rock & Gem show. There is another in October in Ancaster, Ontario and if you Goog*le, you will come up with some that are taking place in your area. Have a great week. ~Blessings, Mary~

Memories of the Farm in Spring

I remember the farm in spring. It was a time of rebirth. The hens would sit on their nests and defy you to come near to try and fetch the eggs. More than once, I was sent to bring in the eggs and would be attacked by a pecking, scratching hen that had decided it was time to nest.

Besides the baby chicks, there were many other births in springtime. The geese and the gander were never more contankerous than when they were nesting. That old gander chased me to the house one day, wings beating the air behind me and yes, I could feel the wind from those wings. He was honking his head off and I was emitting blood curdling screams. Grandma dashed out of the house, slamming the screendoor and waving her apron at the gander. I wrapped my arms around her, pressing my cheek against her bosom and sobbing in fright.

Calves and foals arrived in the spring. I loved watching the foals as they stood on spindly, shaking legs. We usually had about six baby calves in the calf pen during this time of year and each one was beautiful. I always had a favorite and quite often it had a white face and big brown eyes. Those eyes were liquid and seemed to peer right into my soul. One of my favorite things was feeding those calves milk after they'd been weaned. They slurped the milk and then, when it was gone, butted the pail with their heads, hoping for more, just as they had when they were drinking from their mama's teat.

Across the road, baby lambs frolicked on the hillside. Our neighbor raised sheep and the lambs were precious. The lambs would run, kicking and jumping, making games of their own to pass the day. The ewes would keep a careful eye on them, allowing them to enjoy a bit of freedom, but bleating when the lambs strayed too far.

Springtime on the farm also meant that there were many species of wildlife that gave birth. Baby raccoons, squirrels, red fox and a wide variety of bird fledglings were all part of a normal spring day. My favorites were the eastern bluebirds that always visited the farm, along with robins, meadowlarks, killdeer, Baltimore orioles and a wide host of others. I also enjoyed the killdeers that built their nests along the side of the road. When my siblings and I would approach, they would swoop away from the nest, floundering in a false act of injury. They wanted to lure us away from the nest. Of course, Dad had taught us that we should never disturb any wild creature. A lesson that I still abide to till this day.

Spring is one of my favorite seasons. It is a time of rebirth for the Earth. Babies are born, flowers come out of their state of dormancy and the world comes alive with color after the drab winter months. It's a wonderful time of the year.

What changes occur in spring in your part of the country and what is your favorite thing about spring?

Today would have been Aunt May's birthday. It was also the day of Grandma's funeral. So with the joy of spring comes a hint of saddness that neither of these great ladies are with us any longer. However, there is joy because they have been reunited after 35 years of being separated. Grandma has been gone since April 1974. Aunt May passed in November 2008. Mother and daughter, together again.

Take care and enjoy the rest of your weekend. Thanks to all that have asked about and prayed for, Michelle. The surgery went fine and she was home by 4pm. Today she is getting up and about a little, but resting lots. ~Blessings, Mary~