Friday, May 31, 2013

Beth's quilt top done!

We finished this on May 7, and it is now at the quilter's place with Jason and Jeffrey's quilts.  Beth  designed this quilt herself in June 2011.  It is truly a unique quilt--never another one just like it because she made it up.  She scanned the fabrics in our printer/scanner, brought them up in Photoshop, and put them together into the design.  After she started making all the parts of it, she realized it would have been easier to use a classic pattern.  The pieces were put in a box for a year and a half, but when we got it out, we mustered up fresh courage to finish it in time to take on our trip to Missouri. She decided to make log cabin blocks for the borders, which were a lot easier and faster. 

We actually added another couple rows at the top, but I forgot to take another picture of it after that.  When we get it back from the quilter, (probably by August), it will appear on this blog with all its finished beauty!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Book Review: Dandelions on the Wind By Mona Hodgson

Dandelions on the Wind was a quick and sweet read.   I got it as an e-book and read it in one afternoon.  Maren Jensen, an immigrant from Denmark, was a helper (in exchange for room and board) for a widow, Mrs. Brantenberg, on her farm in Saint Charles, Missouri.  The Civil War had ended four months before.  Times were hard and money was scarce.  Maren loved the old lady and her four year old granddaughter, Gabi, but was longing to go home to Denmark to be with her family.  She had come to the United States as a mail order bride, but when her husband-to-be found out that she was going blind, he had refused to marry her. 
Gabi’s father, “Woolly” showed up on the farm unexpectedly.  He had abandoned his newborn daughter when his wife died in childbirth and had joined the army.  His mother-in-law is not happy he has returned and she has to decide whether she believes and can live out the wise sayings she has told the quilting circle, like:  “Grace cannot be earned, only given.”   Maren sees Woolly’s arrival back on the farm as a sign that she can now get a job to earn money in order to return to Denmark.  Gabi’s daily prayers for her father’s return have been answered, but she doesn’t want to lose Maren who has been like a mother to her.  Woolly has to forgive himself for all the wrong decisions he made and find God’s light for his future.
This book was enjoyable and easy to read, but not the challenge or spiritual benefit that my more recent reads have been.  I obtained this e-book from Blogging for Books and Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Matter of Trust Book Review

I had read another book by Lis Wiehl, so I knew she writes a strong crime mystery novel with surprising twists and turns.  Mia Quinn is a prosecutor for a county District Attorney’s office, recently returning to that job after the death of her husband in a car crash.  She is on the phone with her best friend, another prosecuting attorney in the office, when she hears her friend get shot and killed.  The book is spent with her and a police officer investigating this murder and a similar one of another prosecuting attorney that happened four years ago.  At the same time, they are investigating a suicidal death of a young boy, the age of Mia’s own son, who was bullied and harassed at school and on Facebook leading to his death. 
Mia’s father has recently found Christ as his Savior and shows Mia how Christ can transform an absent, abandoning father, into a loving, kind, and helpful dad.  Mia needs all the support she can get because of the loss of her husband and her friend, but also because she finds out their financial chaos her husband had hid from her.  Going back to work leaves her teen son alone too much of the time, and exposed to the peer pressure of students who will bully him if he doesn’t go along with their plans.  The changes and losses in her four-year-old daughter’s life cause her to have night terrors.  How can Mia be fully engaged at work, investigate the murders, be a good mom to her kids, and keep anyone else from being killed?
I enjoyed this book because I love mysteries that are hard to figure out.  This book deals with current issues, like bullying at school, dangers of social media, keeping our kids safe, and pressures of finances in our day.  It is an intense book that I would not recommend for young readers, but is definitely appropriate for adults who enjoy mysteries.
I received my complimentary e-copy from Book Sneeze in exchange for my honest review of this book. 

3rd Annual Johnstown Historical Society Tea at Two

 Emily and I spent Saturday morning making lots of cucumber sandwiches in preparation for the Tea at Two.  We also made almond cakes.  Other people made chicken salad, chocolate covered strawberries, glazed nuts, cream cheese mints, scones, Death by Chocolate mini cupcakes, and lemon poppy seed cakes.
 Emily and I dressed up before the Tea.  She wore a clip-on "fascinator" on her hat which she won two years ago at the Tea.  My hair clip was made by our niece for Emily's birthday gift this year.
 Cynthia Webb was the speaker for the Tea, as she was two years ago.  Since Jason was the piano entertainment for the Tea, she wanted him to be dressed up for the occasion.  It made it more fun for Jason to wear the fancy clothes and the top hat.
Cynthia and Jason after she got him all fixed up!
 This is Cynthia in the hat she wore for most of the Tea.  She is a milliner, a farmer's wife, and a Christian motivational speaker.  But she also gives talks and demonstrations about hat styles and hat making, which is what she did this time.
 Of course, I wanted a picture with my handsome son!
 Emily was a tea server for the occasion.
How Jason looked while he was playing for about 1.5 hours.  He played mostly hymns and Christian music, plus his own original compositions.  It was wonderful background "noise" and everyone seemed to love hearing him play.
This is looking from the Senior Center kitchen out into the Tea before all the guests had arrived.  There was a contingency of 21 Red Hatters who filled three tables.
 Emily was a careful tea server.  When a teapot was empty, she went back for a different teapot.  I think we had at least eight teapots with four in use at a time.  We had a helper in the kitchen making more tea from tea essence all the time.  This picture caught Emily holding her own teapot that she bought at a garage sale last year.
 This shows how the tables were set.  Old fashioned handkerchiefs are the napkins.  The cups and saucers are varied and all beautiful.  Decorated hats were the centerpieces.
 We had serving tables with all the food on them, so that lines could be served from both directions at once.  Lots of the guests wore hats, which added to the fun of the afternoon.
 While Cynthia spoke, after the teatime, she had three ladies who were modeling clothing and hats from late 1800s and early 1900s.  The models were good sports and made it a fun afternoon.
Tea at Two is one of our two main fundraiser events in the year for the Historical Society.  We are glad to have this one behind us.  It was a lot of work, but everybody had a good time. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

When Jesus Wept Book Review

     When Jesus Wept by Bodie and Brock Thoene is my new favorite book.  Bodie and Brock Thoene have been preferred authors of mine for many years, so when I saw a book written by them offered on Book Sneeze, I knew I had to review it.  I got the e-book, so it is not taking up room on my very crowded bookshelves, but I will be rereading it in the future.  In fact, I plan to read it aloud to my family on our next road trip.
     When Jesus Wept  is the story of Lazarus or David ben Lazarus, as he is known in this book.  I have always loved Bible stories told with the fleshing out of fictional details, as long as the story remains true to the Bible, and this one does.  The stories of Jesus in the Gospels are interwoven in a few years of the life of Lazarus in an amazing way.  We don’t know if his sister, Mary, was the woman caught in adultery, but she might have been.  In this story, she was, and the encounter changed her forever, and she became a devoted Christ-follower who poured out her life in service.         
     Did you ever wonder why Lazarus died the first time?  In this story, his death was the result of his service to Jerusalem Sparrows, homeless street orphans. 
     I had never thought about how Lazarus felt, being called back from where he was in Paradise.  He very likely was having a wonderful time of reunion with his loved ones in that happy place.  I had always just considered his sisters needing him on earth.  Jesus had His reasons, no doubt one of them to prove His power over death and the grave just prior to His own death and resurrection.   I got new insight into the parables and stories that Jesus told, because just perhaps, Jesus told them because of happenings in his friend, Lazarus’s life.
     Mary, Martha, and Lazarus became real people to me in this book, as I read of their lives, families, vocation, service, and friendship with Jesus.  The Thoenes are excellent at the background information about the times, culture, politics, even the landscapes, of the Holy Land where the story takes place.
     I can’t say enough good things about this book!  I highly recommend that you get a copy and read it a few times!  I’m anxious for that road trip to read it aloud and see what else I can learn along the way.
     I received my complimentary e-copy from Book Sneeze in exchange for my honest review of this book. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Our plumbing trouble... Is now fixed!

We live in a small town, which has its own water treatment plant. We have pretty good water most of the year, since we live <50 miles from the mountain snow that melts into reservoirs, just upstream from our town's water treatment plant.  However, we occasionally have VERY murky water when the reservoir has 'Lake Turnover.'

 So nine years ago I decided to install two whole house filters.  The first with a 20um filter, followed by a 5um charcoal filter.  This has kept us from any dirty water to our sinks, showers, ice maker, toilets, water heater, hot water furnace, and washing machine.  Then last month when it was time to change the filters, I felt the integral shut-off valve break as I closed it.  It wouldn't shut off, so I shut the main water valve off and replaced both of the filter housings with ones that have no breakable shut off valves.

I thought all was well, until five days later when I found that there was no cold water to one of our bathrooms, while all of the other cold water outlets were fine.  I presumed that a part of the broken filter shut-off mechanism had broken free, flowed downstream, and gotten stuck somewhere. We tried several strategies to discover where the blockage was, and finally found it today, in a wall half way between the filters and the bath room without cold water.

I trust that this might keep someone from installing any water filter housings that have integral shut-off valves, as they are prone to failure.  My family is rejoicing, and praising the Lord for His help and wisdom in finding this blockage, for the tools, supplies, and knowledge to replace copper fittings, and for it all being fixed tonight!  Now for the gaping hole in the drywall in our entryway....