Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite

'Deftly captures the era's sense of frenzied invention and seductive promise' - The New York Times

'Full of suspense, this is an all-feeling novel, seductively and dramatically told' -- Daily Mail

“She tried to smile but her face,she noticed with a jolt,was one that 
had been configured for tradgedy.” 

I just finished this book, The Glimmer Palace. I didn't read the reviews before I picked it out. But, as usual, I listened to it on audio; driving around in my car. I don't know how it would've been to read it. Some books are better than others and should be listened to instead of read from a book... at least in my opinion. This one I think would've been just find to read from a book but I adored the narrator. I thought she was superb.

The book was written by the UK author Beatrice Colin and that is the reason for the two titles. The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite was it's UK title. When it came to America it was re-titled The Glimmer Palace. Isn't the cover pretty?!

I got the feeling that this book was impeccably researched. It was the perfect blend of history and fiction; so much so that after awhile you start wondering if more of the story is real than fake.

After I read a book that I really enjoy I like to look up the research behind it. Unfortunately I couldn't find an interview with the author Beatrice Colin about this book specifically. But I found some other things. Like this interview where we find out that her great-aunt Nina, who carved out a career in the German film industry between the wars, was a guiding spirit behind The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite. 

Beatrice Colin is a UK writer. On her main author website she explains what it feels like to write - There are dozens of analogies of how it feels to write but to me it feels a little like trying to walk through a dark room with my arms outstretched. You stumble across things you weren’t expecting, and as you grope around in the dark take two steps forward in any direction and then one step back again. It can be either frustrating or exhilarating, but this is where I feel I’m most creative, and I usually come up with scenes or situations that I had never imagined before.

Towards the end, I start to speed up, almost finished, but this part is also the hardest. All those choices I made so casually earlier on in the story have consequences. I am now the grown-up left to tidy up the mess of a very messy adolescent...

The story is about Lilly Nelly Aphrodite who is orphaned when she is only two years old. She lives in a Catholic orphanage in Germany and her life takes a turn when she befriends a girl who has more life experience than she should. Lilly's story twists and turns and you never know what is going to happen next. She goes through many different hardships, all the while just trying to be happy and safe. She eventually falls into the film industry and then things really start happening!

early Germany film industry
The actress Pola Negri was mentioned several times in this book... here is her picture. It gives you an idea of what actresses during that time looked like.


And of course, since it was an audio book that I listened to, I must mention Justine Eyre, the narrator of this fine novel. 

Take a listen and see if you don't think her voice is divine & perfectly matched to the story...

If you like historical fiction this book is for you. If you are interested in World War 1, Nazi Germany and early cinema this book is for you. If you like plot twists and beautiful language this book is for you. If you like to be entertained, well, this is the book for you!

I thoroughly enjoyed it and I think you will too.

Check your local library. That's where I got mine!

Happy Reading!

Monday, September 3, 2012

What makes someone love a book?

What makes a book review and what makes a book enjoyable or not enjoyable? I know what my opinions are.

I recently saw a review where someone rated Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen as one of their all time favorites. Now, I read the book and I enjoyed it. But as an all time favorite? I didn't think that was possible for anyone. I put off reading it for years because of the somewhat negative reviews of it. One of them said that Gruen knows how to write about the relationship between human and animal but not so much the relationships between people; that critque rings true in Water for Elephants.

And I just looked back through my blog to see if I'd reviewed and I noticed that I have not. Oh well. Here it is now. I thought the story was fun and intriguing; it kept you guessing. So overall it was quite good. However!!! I am fairly picky when it comes to my books and I did not come to love the characters. I didn't really miss them when I'd finished and I felt like they were sortof whiners and I hate whiners unless I'm supposed to hate them as characters and then I love it! The best part of this book was the ending, and I don't mean that it was the best because it was over, but it was just a very excellent ending to the story.

I guess it just surprised me that someone would claim it as a favorite of all time where for me it doesn't even come close.

It's a good thing we don't all have to agree! As my mother would say, that's why God made so many different kinds of people :) hah. Well go figure. And if you feel like this book sounds interesting to you, please read it. It was a very good story with a great plot. And not only that, but she researched elephants for the book. If you read the book go to the back and read the part where she talks about the research she did on these two real life elephants. Fascinating!

I always like to look into the research and inspiration behind a book. That always makes it better for me.

While I'm on the topic of favorite books of all time, I'll mention a few of my own just for good measure.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (which I have not yet reviewed on here)
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (which I have also  not reviewed)


and here are two Honorable Mentions that come in very close to being on my top top list of books...
The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson - a new author with a very interesting voice. Great story.

A Long Way Gone; memoirs of a boy soldier - by Ishmael Beah ( I think every teen boy should read this book. It has easy language but it is a true story and the author is alive and telling his story today! Amazing!)

There are many many other books that I love dearly but they do not pop into my head right now, and I've also not written reviews about them. But rest assured, I shall review again! But that list of four right now has yet to be beat. Although I did like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn...

And by the way, if you're looking for a good book reviewer I do recommend Farmlanebooks. She is the one who loved Water for Elephants, but I still think she writes pretty good reviews overall. And she's got a lot more than me.....

What makes you really enjoy a book?

What books are are you list of all time favorites and WHY!?


Saturday, September 1, 2012

why do I ever think it has anything to do with me?!?

Seriously. I don't know why I have these delusions that my life in Christ has anything to do with me!

Last week was kindof a tough week spiritually. See, I work really hard, a lot for several days, then I have a few days off and I crash. I crash and I eat bad food and watch crap television and can't get out of the funk.. then I go to church and whine when I can't get people to focus. Um, hello Ciara?

How do you expect to be a blessing to anyone when you're being crabby pants yourself? Going to church isn't about being blessed by others, it's about BEING the blessing TO others!!! It's not about me at all. It's about Jesus. All the time. Every second of every day, and especially on Sabbath!

So last week I had a whine session with my mom about it and she talked with me and gave me exactly what I needed, like she always does. I am grateful that I have that. But not everyone does. Some people don't have that person they can talk to. Maybe their week was even worse than mine. Maybe they didn't pray at all and are having an even worse spiritual low than me. Maybe it's been that way for a long time.

Jesus doesn't want me to whine about it. He wants me to get up off my butt and do something to help someone else.

I've also been doing a lot of thinking about prayer lately. I've learned a lot about it. Pretty sure I am that God has placed that in my path for a reason. Everywhere I turn I keep hearing stuff about prayer. So obviously that's what God wants from me. And I think I'd like to talk to you about it as well. So stay tuned for that next time.

Remember, if you're feeling down, talk to Jesus about it. Ask him to send His angels to give you some help with whatever it is you're feeling and what you're dealing with... and He will.

Remember, God does not step in where He's not wanted. So ask Him for special help and He WILL help you! Claim His promise!

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. - 2 Peter 3:9

Monday, August 27, 2012

Popsicles! Popsicles! Popsicles!


You know you want one!

I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier, I mean, it's been summer! Hello?! But I saw the book the other day; People's Pops at the library, got it, and got obsessed with pops! This book has the best recipes. I want to get this one: Paletas next because it's authentic recipes for Mexican ice pops, shaved ice and aguas frescas! and after making the Peach Jalapeno pop from the People's Pops book I gotta say, I'm hooked on the sweet and spicy pop!


                           click the pic to buy these molds

So, I'm sure that after seeing those pictures you are just DYING to know how to make your own Jalapeno Pop! ... Ok fine, please stop begging! I'll tell you!

Ingredients List
  • 1 lb peaches
  • 1 1/4 cup simple syrup
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Step 1: pick out 5 juicy peaches and a jalapeno pepper

Step 2: cut the peaches in half, set your oven to 350 and bake the beaches (cut side down) in a pan for 20 minutes, let them cool and then remove the pits and blend 'em up. it's ok if it's a little chunky. Baking the peaches helps bring out the flavor and makes the peaches easier to blend.

Step 3: chop up your jalapeno pepper and put it in a sauce pan with the simple syrup (see recipe below), cover & let it simmer for 5-10 minutes, then turn off the heat and let it sit and steep for another 5-10 minutes. The longer you steep the stronger the bite will be. Strain out the jalapenos when you're done. Be careful not to simmer too long as the mixture will evaporate quickly.

Step 4: add everything together into a bowl (with a spout is nice or you can spoon it); the simple syrup jalapeno mixture, the blended peaches and the lemon juice. Mix it all together so it is blended nicely. Taste your mixture as you mix it, it should be sweet with a bite to it.

Step 5: pour your mixture into your molds and freeze for 4-5 hours.

Step 6: EAT & ENJOY! Remember to share! ;-)

Ok here's the simple syrup recipe:
2/3 cup cane sugar (sugar in the raw is what I used)
2/3 cup water
You could just be easy and do 1 cup of each, you can use the mixture in your coffee too.
Bring to a simmer on the stove until the sugar is dissolved and transparent. If you wanted to add any spices or herbs to your mixture you would add it now. You would add your jalapenos at this time.

Yum! Yum! Yum!

Popsicles are just so awesome. And they can be so much better than just your basic boring apple juice or grape juice. Be creative! Or get the book and let it be creative for you. I already made a few different kinds...


These are Blueberry & Buttermilk pops!

Here's Gramps enjoying a pop. He liked it so much he spilled on his white shirt!


Saturday, August 18, 2012

You were born for a dream in the heart of God!

I was watching New Perceptions on Hope Channel this morning and there was something that stood out to me. (Hope Channel is free by the way, if you don't get it just call up your provider and they'll get it set up for you. Sometimes they have to come out and do something to your satellite but that's all). Dwight Nelson is doing a series of sermons about Radical Faith. They're all online so we can all enjoy them. I just tuned in today & missed the other 5, but you betchya I'm gonna go back and listen to the others. The message was fantastic. It reminded me of the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan, which I have not finished but have started reading.

Do you remember the story of the rich young ruler? It is found in Matthew, Mark and Luke. A young ruler asks Jesus what he must do to be saved. He was a good man living a good life; he kept God's commandments. But he wanted more, he wanted a real relationship with God so he asks Jesus what he needed to do.

Mark 10:21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”

This message is not solely for the rich. It is for all of us. We need to get radical. Jesus must have been so sad when the young ruler walked away. He was given the option to become a disciple, there could have been 13 instead of 12, but he was not willing to part with his possessions. 

How many times have we asked God why we don't feel a deeper connection to Him? We pray and pray but nothing seems to happen. Jesus died for us! That's radical! What makes us think that we can get away with any less and still 'get to heaven'. We are special. We are an IMPORTANT part of God's plan for this planet.

I loved this quote below from Dwight Nelson from his sermon this morning. It made me realize how important each and every person is in God's plan.

"There is no one on the planet that can fulfill the destiny that you were born for. You were born for a dream in the heart of God. If you say no that portion of God's dream will never get fulfilled. Nobody can step into your place." 
- Dwight K. Nelson
I thought of this song and thought it was a perfect match.

How special is THAT!?

We all fail. I fail every day. I do well in my own eyes and then just the other day I fell completely flat on my face. I failed so hard it's not even funny. So I had a bit of a pity party and whined to Jesus. Eventually I had to get over it. God knows we cannot do everything right, however that is not a very good excuse. I apologized and I am getting back up and trying again.

"Not because we FEEL it but because He SAYS it. We need to live by FAITH, not by FEELINGS. Faith and Trust in God's word." 

We don't always feel forgiven and that is part of satan's snare. "I am not good enough to enter heaven, I am not good enough to even try to follow Jesus." I have to know that I am forgiven when I ask it because He said so!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Feeding Hummingbirds

I finally snapped a picture of my hummer eating!!! They are so hard to get!

I love hummingbirds. Incase you've never noticed that about me, I do. They are just the coolest birds! Their eggs are the size of a tic tac, how cool is that?! I went on a trip to Glacier National Park and go the chance to see a hummingbird nest live and in person. It was so cool.. Here they are below...

I know it's hard to tell but this next was no bigger than a small fist.

The mix of nectar for hummingbirds is very important. it's a 1:4 ratio - one sugar to four water.

1/2 cup sugar
1 cup hot water
1 cup cold water

Let cool to room temperature and fill feeder.

If you want more just up the amounts: 1 cup sugar, 2 cups hot water, 2 cups cold water
or less: 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup hot water, 1/2 cup cold water

Also, you don't want/need any food coloring. Your feeder will have red to attract the hummingbirds. The food coloring isn't really good for them.

Keeping your feeders clean is also very important. Your need to change the food in the feeder every 3-4 days because the sugar will start to grow mold; especially if your feeder is in the sun. 

When you wash your feeder do not use soap, just hot water is enough. You should also have a nice scrub brush. This is the set that I got, but you really only need the big one because it can also clean the small flowers and other sections as well.

Here is one of my feeders. You want to pick a feeder that will come completely apart to make for easy cleaning. This one is a little difficult because of the shape of the 'balloon'. It can be hard to scrub the edges. This one would be very easy to clean and you wouldn't even need a special brush, you could just use a kitchen scrubber.

Here it is all hung up & put together. The hummers that come to my feeder like the little stands. They don't always use them but sometimes they like to sit and eat.

ant moat

Now this little red thing here is a very useful tool when it comes to hummingbirds. It's called an ant moat, or and guard. It keeps the ants from getting to your feeder. It highly HIGHLY recommend it. In fact, don't even bother putting up a feeder without it. The ants will find your feeder very quickly and as soon as they do they will cover it and discourage your hummers from eating at your house.

You can find them on Amazon or other online stores or you can make your own. I did have one that was excellent, it was clear and enclosed, meaning I had to turn it upside down to add the water. I preferred it because the water didn't evaporate so quickly. With these open ones the water tends to evaporate quite quickly which is frustrating. I'm searching for the one I had before, it's not on Amazon and I haven't found it yet so if you happen to stumble across it please let me know.

Red flowers will help to attract humming birds and butterflies to your house.

Also, a note on bees.. I haven't found a way to keep bees away from my feeders. They can be annoying but they don't seem to deter the hummers from feeding. They seem to take turns. If you look closely at the picture of my feeder at the top of this post you'll see some bees. yikes :) They didn't sting me though.

I hope you try feeding hummingbirds at your house. They are delightful little birds. Once you start feeding them don't stop because they will leave and go elsewhere and you may not be able to bring them back. Hummingbirds to migrate south in the winter (except in California; there is a breed that tends to stay year-round). 

Live webcams can be a lot of fun to watch. Sportsman's Paradise has some excellent wildlife webcams.

I've seen some fantastic hummingbird nest cams but I don't any are active right now. However, there are a few feeder cams; you can just google hummingbird cam and look through them to see which ones you like best. Some are not active, but just keep looking around.

I hope you have fun watching hummingbirds come to your yard!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Jeffrey & Shawnee got married!

My brother just got married to a wonderful girl! It was a simple & beautiful ceremony with just family and a few friends. Our pastor Bill married them. We spent the day together, getting to know each other's families. It was nice that everyone got along well, she has a very nice and down to earth family.

Shawnee & Jeffrey have moved away from Montana to live in Alabama so that they can go to school. My brother has to go there to get the degree he wants; marine biology, so that he can play with algae. :) 

It sucks that they've moved away but I'm happy for them. They're gonna have fun living closer to the beach for a time and then they'll have to move back to the mountains eventually because I don't think they can stay away for too long!

Here are some pictures I took from the wedding day.

this way to plunge!

getting ready

getting ready



Making it official

Both families combined


I love you

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

a continuous filling

Hello friends. I have just returned from 3 and a half days at the Montana Youth Conference (MTYC) in Eureka Montana.  This is their 4th year putting this on but the first time I have attended.  I wanted to write about my experience before it left me. I am so thankful for what God has allowed me to see this year. I’ve attended two excellent programs in the past 6 months and it has helped me to remain focused. As you may know, it can be hard to stay focused on Jesus and His work if we are not fully engaged and filled with The Holy Spirit.
Speaking of being filled, that was the theme of this years’ MTYC. 

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they SHALL be FILLED! Matthew 5:6
A promise from Heaven. If we hunger and thirst after Jesus we will be filled.

This past week was just what I needed to get back on track. I was living day to day and not focusing on Jesus. I was cramming in my Sabbath School lessons on Friday nights and Saturday mornings instead of working on them throughout the week. Granted I’ve been very busy. I’ve spent this past month moving and packing up and entire house with my mom and other family. But that is an excuse and it’s not even a very good one. God should always be first in my life.
So I went to MTYC. If you know me at all you know that I’m a “slow friend maker”. Everyone there either already knew a bunch of people or they came with someone. For the first few days I felt out of place socially but still enjoyed the daily presentations. I forgot to ask God to help me socialize with everyone. I just kept expecting everyone else to do the work. Well by the time Sabbath rolled around I decided that it was going to be a special Sabbath. I asked God to help me and fill me and work in me. And of course he did. I started being more social and opening up a little.
They even did outreach that day and it was the very first time I’d done anything like that. Wow. It was truly a blessing. Nothing obvious to the human eye came of it but it did something for me. We knocked on people’s doors and talked to them… SCARY! But I did it and I praise God for that.
And not only that… I had another triumph. The day I left I had some extra Glow booklets. I stopped at a gas station about 3 minutes after leaving the church. After spending 4 days in the church and with other MTYC youth, walking into a gas station felt like another world. I felt like I was a foreigner in another land. But I had decided that it was going to be the first time I gave out a Glow booklet on my own. I was so scared but God gave me the courage and I did it. I gave it to the clerk… and then ran out of the gas station!!! But I felt so good!
All the way home I prayed. I’d listen to music and talk to God. The whole 4 hour drive home God prompted me every hour to speak with Him. It was amazing. And since returning home He has reminded me to stay connected with Him. I have had my shortcomings as I always do, but I am determined to walk in faith with God and increase my walk daily. Some days have been more difficult than others.
I have also discovered It’s been a blessing. I’m a brain person and I love to learn. I love filling my brain with God’s teachings. The Bible is SO FULL of information! It’s so deep and intricate and I love it! Somehow there is always more to learn.
Well that is all I can write for now. My aim is to continue learning and I hope that I may share some of my thoughts. Thank you for allowing me to share this little story. I’ve been blessed. May God also bless you in your life with what He knows best you need. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

a little bit of skiing

Unknown Mami

I went skiing at Lost Trail for the second time this year; first time skiing in about 12 years! 
And I gotta say, I did a pretty good job. I'm not as scared as I used to be. But there are a lot of things I'm not as afraid of anymore. Maybe I'm growing up a little.

It was a little foggy this time around. You can see the mountain just peaking through the fog.

Two kiddos that came with us; their first time skiing off the bunny hill. They did great!

These next few pictures are from the first time I went; as you can see, the sun was out.

Enjoying a bit of sun...

Don't you just love my awesome 80's snow outfit. Got it out of my grandpa's closet!