Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Surviving Henry - Erin Taylor Young

About the Book:

Sometimes you seek out love. And sometimes it broadsides you.

You don't always know what you're getting into when you bring home a puppy. You hope for laughs and cuddles, long walks and a wagging tail. And sometimes you get . . . Henry.

Henry is a boxer who suffers from Supreme Dictator of the Universe Syndrome. He vandalizes his obedience school, leaps through windows, cheats death at every turn, and generally causes his long-suffering owner Erin Taylor Young to wonder what on earth she did wrong that God would send this dog to derail her life.

But this rogue torpedo of a dog wasn't sent to torment his owner--well, not just to torment her. Through all the hair-pulling and questioning of her own sanity, Erin learns something very powerful from Henry, a dog who brings new meaning to the concept of unconditional love.

Through his laugh-out-loud antics and jaw-dropping escapades, Henry will careen into your life and steal your heart. 

My Review:

Well, Henry didn't steal my least not in an I-want-a-dog-like-this kind of way. Because nothing could be further from the truth.  Just looking at the picture makes me think his name should be Trouble.

I chose to review this book because I love dogs, and because Ms. Young is a humor writer - good combination, I thought. I enjoyed reading about all the mischievous antics this dog got into, embellished by the author's wit. The whole time I was wondering why someone would want to not only keep him, but write a whole book about him. Only a person with undying puppy love could have this kind of patience and dogged devotion. What I found extremely hilarious was the fact that the family used German commands for Henry; the K9 University Henry attended (Yes, seems like there is such a thing) suggested 'German-based commands in case you want to have your dog trained in personal protection. That way your dog responds to words a potential attacker won't know.' Makes sense, however, Henry ain't no guard dog, and never will be. University or not, he never did learn the meaning of, Heel - Foose, (not my spelling), Down - Platz, in German or English.

'Next week they teach the Lie Down session. Total catastrophe. Well, for us. Everyone else's dog gets it figured out. It's not a hard concept when you're wearing a choke collar. You lie down, you get to breathe. Not Henry... Nothing like having your own melodrama in front of a class of calm, recumbent dogs.'

If you have a dog lover in your life, this would be the ideal bone to throw their way!


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. 

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Snapshot Muse # 24 - Geh' aus mein Herz und suche Freud'

I love summer, because of the flowers! And I know I don't take enough time to just walk around our colony to admire them all. With a camera, of course. Maybe this evening will work.

I'm just a tad sad right now about my four beautiful pots of bubble gum waves at the school. Someone was spraying the crushed rock for weeds, where the planters stand and killed all four. Right when they were at their loveliest. It took me a few days to finally let go, and realize there was just one thing left to do with them - send them to the compost grounds. Never even got a chance to take pictures of them.

Oh well, such is life...and death. And we still have many, many more lovely flowers around. So I will try to forget these, forgive the person who sprayed and celebrate the plants we can still enjoy for at least another two month. My colony is blessed with quite a few avid gardeners, and I love to listen to their flower stories - sometimes it seems like they're talking about their children.

My song for this post is one by Paul Gerhardt and is one of my favourite summer songs, Geh' aus mein Herz und suche Freud:

Sunday, 3 August 2014

International Conference of Hutterian Educators (ICHE) 2014...

plans are coming together nicely, thanks to our dedicated committee. If you don't already know, it will take place at the Victoria Inn Winnipeg, August 13th -15th. That's where we had it four years ago and it proved to be a great location! There are plenty of rooms for breakout sessions and a huge hall for meals and vendors. And they serve fabulous meals. To learn more about this conference and our wide variety of great presenters and keynote speakers, go to our website: .

This past week a group of Hutterite ladies volunteered to help make our delegate bags. They are gorgeous, but also very special as proceeds go to the Grands 'n' More Winnipeg organization that supports grandmothers in Africa who have to raise their grandchildren.


Many thanks to our seamstresses from Fairholme, Baker and Elm River! You are simply wonderful for your time and efforts and for adding a beautiful touch to ICHE 2014!! We're also grateful that we were able to sew at the Baker sewing room - an ideal place for working together! I loved every minute of working with all of you. Again, on behalf of our entire ICHE 2014 committee, Vielen, vielen Dank!!!

And yes, there's still time to register. Click on the link above for details.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Miracle in a Dry Season - Sarah Loudin Thomas

About the Book:

It's 1954 and Perla Long's arrival in the sleepy town of Wise, West Virginia, was supposed to go unnoticed. She just wants a quiet, safe place for her and her daughter, Sadie, where the mistakes of her past can stay hidden. But then drought comes to Wise, and Perla is pulled into the turmoil of a town desperately in need of a miracle.

Casewell Phillips has resigned himself to life as a bachelor...until he meets Perla. She's everything he's sought in a woman, but he can't get past the sense that she's hiding something. As the drought worsens, Perla's unique gift divides the town in two, bringing both gratitude and condemnation, and placing the pair in the middle of a storm of anger and forgiveness, fear and faith.

My Review:

In this story,  the main character, Perla is running from her past with a suitcase full of secrets, but finds hope staying with her aunt and uncle in a small town, where nobody knows her. Those hopes are soon dashed, when people judge her and send rumours flying along the town’s party line. It was heartwarming how Perla continues to do good to the people who would like nothing better than send her packing. Casewell is one of her few friends, but even he is struggling with seeing beyond Perla’s past. Eventually though, he realizes he needs to forgive to move forward. While the area is plagued by drought, the little town works together to survive, and as refreshing rain brings new life, God works a miracle in the hearts of the Wise residents. This is a sweet story of ‘loving your neighbour’ even though they spite you, and the healing power of forgiveness, with just a touch of whimsical.


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Ripe and Juicy Goodness!

Some days I think I live in Paradise... minus the forbidden fruit tree. Besides all the fresh vegetables, we're having a berry beautiful summer - an abundance of gorgeous, tasty berries. As much as I'd like to give you a taste, Blogger doesn't give me that option, but I can certainly show you, make your mouth water:

 Nanking Cherries

Just some of the sweet blessings of living close to the land!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries - Amy Newmark, Dr. Carolyn Ray-Bornstein

About the Book:

Did you know a traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs every 18.5 seconds in this country? TBIs occur due to accidents and sports, and are also common in returning soldiers. Chances are you, or someone you know, has been touched in some way by this experience. The personal stories in this book, by TBI survivors and those who love and support them, will help and encourage you and your family on the road to recovery. 

Whether you are recovering from a traumatic brain injury or supporting someone with a TBI, this collection of 101 inspiring and encouraging stories by others like you will uplift and encourage you on your healing journey.

My Review:

While there are many inspiring, even miraculous stories in this book, I didn't really enjoy it - for some reason it was not a page turner for me. Perhaps because I don't know of anybody who has suffered a severe brain injury. I have to say though, like all Chicken Soup books, the caliber of writing is very impressive. I came to the conclusion, that it would be more enjoyable for survivors of TBI and their families, as they'd be able to relate with the personal accounts recorded within these pages better than I could. I'm sure it takes a tremendous amount of courage and determination for someone recovering from TBI and patience and strength for the family and friends of these brave people. Even though I could not get into this book as much as I would have liked, I highly recommend it to anybody who has in some way been touched by a traumatic brain injury.

In exchange for an honest review, Shelton Interactive and Simon and Schuster provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Snapshot Muse # 23 - Himmel, Erde, Luft und Meer

This has been the longest time that I haven't posted anything on here, since I started this blog, I believe. And here I was planning on doing a Snapshot Muse every week. Yes, 'the best laid plans of mice and men go oft astray'. I've been busy with a whole lot of other things lately: school stuff, (I know, some days it seemed summer holidays haven't begun.) August conference related work, kitchen..... so social media sat on the back burner. Anyway, I'll use my Sunday afternoon siesta to jot down a few lines.

I love our stretching-for-miles prairie skies!! They're constantly changing and always beautiful, even in storms. I took this picture coming home from Winnipeg one day. Looking at it later, I thought, "Well, a few more lines, a treble clef, words and we'd have a song in the sky." Someone should write a song, or maybe there is one already and I just don't know about it. 'Prairie Skies' would make a lovely song title.

Many times, when I start working on these Snapshot Muse posts, I don't know which song I'll go with, and I always like to wait to see what will cross my mind as I write. The first song that came to me today, was written by, Joachim Neander (1650-1680), and is one that Hutterites have been singing for many years - it's all about praising God in nature.

Himmel, Erde, Luft und Meer
zeugen von des Schöpfers Ehr;
meine Seele, singe du,
bring auch jetzt dein Lob herzu.

2. Seht das große Sonnenlicht,
wie es durch die Wolken bricht;
auch der Mond, der Sterne Pracht
jauchzen Gott bei stiller Nacht.

3. Seht, wie Gott der Erde Ball
hat gezieret überall.
Wälder, Felder, jedes Tier,
zeigen Gottes Finger hier.

4. Seht, wie fliegt der Vögel Schar
in den Lüften Paar bei Paar.
Blitz und Donner, Hagel, Wind,
seines Willens Diener sind.

5. Seht der Wasserwellen Lauf,
wie sie steigen ab und auf;
von der Quelle bis zum Meer
rauschen sie des Schöpfers Ehr.

6. Ach mein Gott, wie wunderbar
stellst Du Dich der Seele dar!
Drücke stets in meinen Sinn,
was Du bist und was ich bin.

Prairie skies always make me think of peace and eternity and quiet time with God, especially when I'm walking by myself. There's just something special about walking alone: it's like you notice every blade of grass swaying in the breeze and every wispy cloud floating overhead. Things you usually miss when you're with another person and talking the whole time. Thus, I was reminded of another fitting song, which our choir used to sing years ago: 'My God and I go in the Field Together: