Your Life & Mine: Gifts

My husband and I just received a beautiful gift from our friend and cousin, Lori, and her son Brock. Lori knows how much we both love music, and she is a talented quilter. Combine the two and you have this wonderful gift that warms our lives and our hearts!

And here it is in our living room. You can see why it’s a perfect addition to our home!

Tell us about a special gift you’ve received or given. Giving is such a beautiful way to share love!

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April 2018 Book Winner!!

Congratulations to Carol J. Garvin who has won a copy of Julie Klassen’s novel, THE INNKEEPER OF IVY HILL! When asked about her talents, Carol said, “I’m really not a people person, but I seem to have that ‘sixth sense’ that tells me when they’re being authentic and when they’re hiding something or not being totally truthful. I like working behind the scenes doing things like producing our church newsletter, maintaining the website, and organizing the choir’s inventory of sheet music, etc., but I’m not sure any of them count as gifts.” I think all of those things would be counted as gifts, Carol. I wish I had a talent for organizing things!

Happy Reading, Carol!

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April 2018 Free Book!

I’m excited to give away a novel this month by Julie Klassen. Set in 1820 this inspirational romance will carry you via words and stories to the little town of Ivy Hill in Wiltshire, England. Our give-away copy is a new trade paperback.

From the cover copy: “The lifeblood of the village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. When the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant landlady….With the help of friends old and new, can Jane restore life to the inn, and to her empty heart as well?”

Within her loss and through the difficulty of managing the inn, Jane discovers new strengths and talents. To have your name included in our Wednesday, April 11 drawing, tell us about your talents. Are you a people person or good with numbers? Are you mechanical or artistic or musical? Do you have a gift with animals or children? Let us know!

Happy Reading!

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Corsets & Lace: Fashion and Pain!

Do you know what these two items are? At the bottom is a piece of whale baleen. (Some whales have teeth, others have baleen in lieu of teeth. The plates of baleen act as a filtering system when a krill-eating whale whooshes in a mouthful of sea water and krill.) At the top of the picture is the underwire from a modern bra.

You may wonder what whale baleen and underwire have in common. It’s all about fashion. We use metal wire in bras today to add uplift. In Victorian times, they used the plastic-like baleen as vertical boning in corsets to reduce inches.

Back in those elegant Victorian times, corsets compressed a woman’s waist to a circumference as small as eighteen inches. You may recall in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s novel, LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS, set in the 1800s, the author mentions that when her mother and father were married, her father could span her mother’s waist with his hands.

I’ve never much been into pain, and I’ll choose today’s foundation garments above corsets anytime! However, I’m fascinated by the elegance of Victorian dresses. Still, I have to admit, I’m a blue jeans girl. My husband is definitely a sweatpants kind of guy, although on occasion he dresses up, and he looks great in a tux!
(Princess Cruise Photo)

How about you? Comfort or elegance?

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About You & Me: Vacations!

My husband Neil and I just returned from a wonderful cruise to the Caribbean — a much needed break from cold winter days and also a respite from our daily parent-care work. Our ship was the Regal Princess, and we joined two couples we’d hit it off with on a previous cruise — Dorothy and Howard, and Amy and Alvan. Good friends are forever!

I took a fat research book with me, read it all the way through and accumulated 14 pages of notes. What better way to enjoy tropical breezes than with a great book and a sea view! I came home excited to get back to my novel-in-progress GILT, and was delighted to realize I managed to iron out two troublesome plot glitches during our vacation.

I thought you might like to see a few photos.

Neil and I doing what we do best — relaxing!

We’re at port here. Neil’s taking a photo of another ship that has pulled up beside ours.

One of the many gorgeous islands we visited during our two weeks in the Caribbean.

Cruise ships offer a variety of Broadway quality shows. This photo was taken in the Regal Princess Theater, our “place to be” nearly every evening.

One of my favorite activities on board ship is the opportunity to watch “Movies Under the Stars,” complete with blankets, lounge chairs, and kind waiters who serve popcorn or warm chocolate chip cookies and milk! (Cookies and milk for me!)

A new-to-me activity on this cruise was “Free Paint,” which was set up in the piazza in front of an audience! Each painter (six to eight at a time) was given a blank sheet of art paper on an easel, brushes, and a tray of water colors like children might use. No models, no ideas, just paint! I worked up my nerve to try it, and it was so much fun I participated in 3 Free Paints over the length of the cruise! This is my best painting. You can tell I’m not an artist!!

Tell me about you! What is your favorite kind of vacation? Have you ever been on a cruise?

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March 2018 Book Winner!

Congratulations to DiAnn Firack who just won our March give-away book!

DiAnn, we’ll get you your copy of Kate DiCamillo’s delightful novel, THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX, as soon as possible!

Happy Reading!

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March 2018 Free Book!

One of my favorite children’s books is THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX by Kate DiCamillo. You may recall that Kate DiCamillo also wrote BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE, another of my favorite children’s books. Our give-away edition is a beautiful hardcover embossed with the John Newbery Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Literature for Children.

From the inside cover flap: “This is the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in darkness but covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl with a simple, impossible wish. These characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and ultimately, into each other’s lives. And what happens then? Reader, it is your destiny to find out.”

Perhaps it’s your destiny to win this book! To have your name included in our Wednesday, March 14 drawing, just answer this question: Despereaux is in love with music, stories, and a princess. What are you in love with?

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The Winner of our February 2018 Free Book!!

Congratulations to Mary Storey who won a copy of Lisa Wingate’s incredible novel, BEFORE WE WERE YOURS. Mary told us in her post that as a child she was happy and helpful. That must have been a great childhood, Mary!

Happy Reading!

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February 2018 Free Book!

This past December, I read and fell in love with Lisa Wingate’s beautiful novel BEFORE WE WERE YOURS, and I knew I had to share it with all of you. From Paula McLain’s review on the back cover, “Lisa Wingate takes an almost unthinkable chapter in our nation’s history and weaves a tale of enduring power. That Georgia Tann and her Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society could actually exist, unraveling the lives of countless children, stealing their pasts and changing their futures, will give you chills…”

BEFORE WE WERE YOURS is a novel that reads like a true crime book, yet it ends gloriously, as all my favorite novels do! Our give-away copy is a new hardcover edition.

To have your name included in our Wednesday, February 28 drawing, please answer this question:
Use one or two words to describe yourself when you were a child. For example, shy, bold, adventurous, creative, rebellious, silly, happy, sad….

Happy Reading,

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Ah, Vacation!

This year, February will be a vacation time for my husband and me. I won’t be around too much on line or on my blog. Usually during a winter vacation, we seek sunshine. When we return, I’ll have photos to share.

Meanwhile, where is your favorite place to vacation?

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