Monday, October 31, 2011

october - where did you go? (#740-748 of 1000 gifts)

"Arrange whatever pieces come your way."  Virginia Woolf

"How you live your life is also art."  Feodor Dostoevsky

It's hard to believe today is already the last day of was just summer! But pictures of the snowstorm on the east side of the continent assure us there's no turning back. I remind myself not to feel smug. In a few weeks that will probably be us making snow angels and shoveling the driveway.

Until then, I'm quite content to enjoy the pleasures of fall such as it is. Here are some of the gifts I've enjoyed in the past week:

740. Misty morning walks.

741. When the battery light started coming on in the car during drives I must admit I was nervous. Last week it came on during my drive to and from Vancouver, and again to and from Surrey. During that last one, it stayed on about half of the way there and all the way back home. I still made it with no sinister car symptoms. Now our car has a new alternator—and that nagging little dash icon hasn't made an appearance since. So thankful it all worked out.

742. Orange everywhere.

743. A fun World Series, especially game 6.

744. We're already halfway through our semester of Women By Design, and I think I'm beginning to get my teaching legs.

745. Juniper berries.

746. A beautiful Saturday afternoon to put my garden to bed.

747. Boulevard trees in flame.

748. Passages like James 1:5-8 that assure me of wisdom when I need it, which is right about now.


If you'd like to join me and many others collecting One Thousand Gifts, please do. Some members of this gratefulness community post their gifts on blogs, while others list them in private journals. Instructions on how to join are here.

Violet Nesdoly / poems
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011



Thursday Challenge

Next Week: CREATIVE (Fine Arts, Crafts, Engineering, Music, Clothing,...)

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Monday, October 24, 2011

thankful on the treadmill (#727-739 of 1000 gifts)

"Start by doing what's necessary, then what's possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - St. Francis of Assisi

I prefer to live life with a certain leisureliness. But that hasn't been the way it has unfolded in the last few weeks. When my calendar is too full, I easily get distracted from gratitude—absorbed in just staying on the treadmill. I am trying to learn to be more elastic. To take deep breaths and inhale the joy, even if the interlude is brief and I need to get on to the next thing.

I missed posting my gratitude list last week. The time got away on me. But I'm determined not to slump into the habit of procrastination. Instead I want to make a habit of giving myself fully to each task, to doing what's necessary, then what's possible. Perhaps I will discover, with St. Francis, that that's how the impossible items also eventually get crossed off my to-do list.

Some gifts from the last two weeks...

727. A ticket to a ukulele concert—a gift from my sister. 

728. A colour swatch of autumn.

729. Mt. Baker, saying goodbye to the day. 

730. It's time for flannelette sheets.

731. Nature's order.

732. Popcorn bushes. 

733. Cheery orange pumpkins everywhere.

734. A fascinating few hours spent listening to Joel Rosenberg.

735. My friend's artful corner.

736. A Sunday walk on the White Rock Promenade.

737. Pampas grass.

738. Autumn roses.

739. Sunday lunch at a favourite Greek eatery.


If you'd like to join me and many others collecting One Thousand Gifts, please do. Some members of this gratefulness community post their gifts on blogs, while others list them in private journals. Instructions on how to join are here.


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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

writing and writing tools

Chalkboard in my daughter's kitchen


Thursday Challenge

Next week: ORANGE (Vegetables, Fruit, Flowers, Leaves, Clothing,...)

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Friday, October 14, 2011

book review: Lion of Babylon by Davis Bunn

Marc Royce returns to Iraq with no hesitation in Lion of Babylon, Davis Bunn’s novel about post-Saddam Iraq. How could he not go to help find his kidnapped friend Alex Baird? Rather, the danger and risk excite him.

In Baghdad he links up with Sameh, a lawyer and member of the Syrian Christian Church. Marc soon endears himself to Sameh, his wife Miriam, his widowed niece Layla, and her daughter Bisan (the latter three female characters soften the edge of this male-dominated tale).

The resistance to Marc's mission from the most surprising quarters, along with sinister warnings and outright threats, signal this is more than a simple kidnapping for money. Any fears that he won’t be at the top of his former intelligence agent game after several years behind a desk soon dissipate as intuition and old reflexes kick in. The story is a cat-and-mouse match that involves abductions, bombings, a clandestine church gathering, and a nighttime trip across the desert, all played out against the hot, dusty, colorful, and lively streets and environs of Baghdad.

Bunn’s writing is wonderful as usual—taut, yet picturesque, as in this description of his old boss Ambassador Walton from early in the book:

“Ambassador Walton had shrunk to where he wore his skin like a partially deflated balloon. The flesh draped about his collar shook slightly as he growled, ‘You got precisely what you deserved’” p. 11.

Character-wise, between the mains I preferred the more human Sameh to the almost too-good-to- be-true (in a superhero kind of way) Marc. I also wished there had been a character glossary, as all the generic-named Arab characters, how they were related to each other, and which faction or society strata they belonged to were confusing, and I had to keep checking back to see who was who.

Talking theme, there was a definite patriotic American undertone, especially in the way Bunn depicts Marc. I appreciated the tolerance of Sameh who purposely employs both Shia and Sunni workers in his office to signal his objectivity. Bunn handles the topic of religious faith (subtly woven throughout the story) most directly when he pictures people of various factions and religions worshiping in unity during a covert service that both Sameh and Marc attend:

“The priest asked everyone to join hands for the Lord’s Prayer. Sameh took Marc’s hand, then grasped the man’s hand on his other side. He glanced around the room, and saw a miracle. Sunni holding hands with Shia, Christian with Muslim. Praying aloud the words. As one.

Sameh wept for himself, for his family, for his nation They had all endured so much …. They hid so much, even from themselves, for to speak of these things only invited despair and futile rage

And yet here and now, in this place, the impossible was happening…” p. 241.
For readers who enjoy fast-paced stories of political intrigue, delivered with generous amounts of Middle Eastern realism and a dollop of faith, Lion of Babylon is a good choice.

Book trailer and first chapter available here.

Title: Lion of Babylon
Author: Davis Bunn
Publisher: Bethany House, July 2011, Paperback, 378 pages (also available in hardcover, Kindle, and audio).
  • ISBN-10: 0764209051
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764209055
 (I received this book as a gift from the publisher for the purpose of writing a review. Article first published as Book Review: Lion of Babylon by Davis Bunn on Blogcritics.)

This post is linked at Semicolon's Saturday Review of Books for Oct. 15, where you will find dozens of more book reviews.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

more daily gathering (#717-726 of 1000 gifts)

"The important things in life cannot be gotten in advance. They must be gathered every day." 
- George Regas

It's been a busy week of urgent things and important things that all got done somehow. This gathering of gratitude gifts has made every week feel like Thanksgiving. This year the celebration of the actual day was not a shock to my mindset one little bit. Maybe that's the way life should be all the time.

Here are some of the many gifts of the week that was.

717. The ivy necklace that bejewels the tree beside our house. 

718. Frozen blueberries with yogurt.

719. A singing hubby.

720. Beds made and the house tidied for guests.

721. Another lavender harvest. Stripping the twigs and sifting is the second step in the process (the first was cutting, tying and hanging the plants in the barn to dry back in August). Our women's group will then be assembling or manufacturing and then selling lavender products (sachet, soap, body scrub, foot scrub) to raise money for plastic surgery for Ugandan women and girls who have suffered facial mutilation during days of civil war in Northern Uganda.

(Do you see that lifeless bee in the midst of the blossoms? She reminds me of a line from an old song: "Must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease..." [from "Am I A Soldier of the Cross"]).

722. Renewing acquaintance with my wooden toy collection. I got them out to show the grandkids.

723. Enjoying our newest little one...

724. ...and the three of them.

725. Flowers from my sis, who also brought fresh blackberries and corn on the cob. Thank you Bea!

726. So thankful for our bountiful Thanksgiving table!


If you'd like to join me and many others collecting One Thousand Gifts, please do. Some members of this gratefulness community post their gifts on blogs, while others list them in private journals. Instructions on how to join are here.

Violet Nesdoly / poems
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Friday, October 07, 2011

Fit for Faith - launch day is coming

My friend and fellow member of The Word Guild, Kimberley Payne, is launching her book Fit for Faith - 7 weeks to improved spiritual and physical health on Tuesday, October 11th at

About the book:

This book unites physical health and spiritual health through a 7-week program to lose weight and develop a deeper relationship with God. It is a reference on cardiovascular exercise, strength training, prayer, healthy eating, Bible study, flexibility exercise and journal writing.

About the Author:

Kimberley Payne is a motivational speaker and author. Her writings relate raising a family, pursuing a healthy lifestyle, and everyday experiences to building a relationship with God. Through her work, Kimberley hopes to inspire women to live happier, healthier lives that glorify God. Kimberley is a former personal trainer and has worked in the designing and counselling fields of weight control, stress management, self esteem improvement and wellness programs. She enjoys recreational activities with her husband and two children near Peterborough, Ontario. You can visit her website at

We can help Kim achieve "best-seller" status by purchasing the book at on October 11th.


Buy Fit for Faith – 7 weeks to improved spiritual & physical health on Tuesday, October 11th and receive loads of FREE gifts from many generous supporters.

Sample chapters, Bible studies, short stories, and children’s books from acclaimed, best selling and debut Christian authors.

All if you buy your copy of Fit for Faith – 7 weeks to improved spiritual & physical health at on October 11th 2011!

These free gifts are valid on Tuesday, October 11th only.

To get your free gift:
1. On Tuesday, October 11th place your order for Fit for Faith through

2. Retrieve the Amazon Order Confirmation Number from your order.

3. Visit to discover all the gifts that can be yours.

4. Email your name & Amazon Order Confirmation Number to kimberleypayne [at] nexicom [dot] net

5. After submitting your information, an email will be sent to you containing the information to access the Bonus Gifts. Choose all the free gifts you like.
Note: Gifts and prizes are available only on October 11th

This Best Seller book launch has been coordinated with the help of the John 3:16 Marketing Network and many other generous supporters. The free gifts are deliverable electronically over the Internet or by email by individual authors and supporters. They are not in any way associated with, nor deliverable by,

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Thursday, October 06, 2011


"Yikes, Mom, what do we do with her?"


I'm thankful for many, many things. But my family sits at the top of the list. Here are my grandsons, a few weeks ago, seeing a puzzling side of their new baby sister.

Thursday Challenge

Next Week: WRITING & WRITING TOOLS (Pens, Pencils, Notebooks, Journals, Calligraphy, Graffiti,...)

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Monday, October 03, 2011

just start (710-716 of 1000 gifts)

"Start by doing what's necessary, then what's possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible." 
Saint Francies of Assisi

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Philippians 4:13 NKJV 

I am about to embark on one of those weeks when everything comes due all at once! Besides the usual Monday laundry routine and preparing pastor's sermon notes for our church's life groups, I now teach a class every Wednesday morning for which I must prepare. It's our class's week to bring goodies for coffee time this Wednesday. Also on Wednesday I'm hosting the Christian Carnival on my Devotional blog.

On Thursday morning the class I'm teaching is scheduled to work at the barn, shucking and sifting lavender for a fundraising project. It's also my turn to post on the Inscribe blog. Later that day, or Friday (not sure when yet) friends from out of province are coming to visit. On the weekend, the kids are coming. Monday is Thanksgiving, so there's a dinner to shop for and prepare!

All of the above is why I chose the motivational quote and Bible verse above—to give me some traction as I enter this crazy week. Hopefully seven days from today I'll be amazed at how all the necessary stuff got done, even though at the moment it seems a bit overwhelming!

Looking back on the week that was, again I have much for which to be grateful...

710. Affirmation for a writing project I submitted to a contest.

711. Driving into the sunrise.

712. Playlists and podcasts on my ipod. Listening to them made the driving hours go by ever so quickly.

713. More time with family.

714. Trees in autumn bloom.

715. A Sunday walk along Bedford Channel (Fort Langley).

716. The wardrobe switcheroo is done. I love getting reacquainted with my winter clothes. It's like getting back together with old friends.


If you'd like to join me and many others collecting One Thousand Gifts, please do. Some members of this gratefulness community post their gifts on blogs, while others list them in private journals. Instructions on how to join are here.

This post is also linked at today's  "In, On and Around Mondays" post on Seedlings in Stone.

On In Around button

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