"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

25 September 2016

2016 Book Review #58: Noah's Wife


This book caught my eye because of the title AND the artwork. I happened to spy it on the town library "new books" shelf and asked myself if it could possibly be about the Biblical Noah's wife.

Yes. In an allegorical kind of way.

This is a modern look,( although based on the descriptions in the story and the lack of mention of cell phones, computers, other modern technology, it could be set anytime after the early 20th century but before the 21st.  That part was a little confusing) of the Biblical account of the Flood/Noah, told as an allegory.  Some reviews call it a fable but it is more along the lines of an allegory.

It is a brilliant piece of literary work.

STORY SUMMARY

There is a little town nestled along a river in the hills. It has been raining for days.  Then weeks, months, and years.

 We do not know if this is America or Europe. The setting is vague on specifics other than the marvelous description of never-ending rain and gloominess.

Noah, a minister in a large city, feels the call to pastor the little town's church, whose own minister was found dead in the river.  Speculation abounds as to whether this was an accident or suicide.  Noah's wife has a desire to help her husband revive the congregation who have all given up on this church.

She soon realizes that their efforts are being thwarted by various town-folk.  There is the Italian storekeeper, an aggressive town matriarch who is also the mayor, and a zookeeper who is engaged to the matriarch's daughter.  The matriarch is known as Mrs. MsGinn and her husband (her 4th!) is named Jackson.  The storekeeper is Mauro.  The daughter is known as "Mrs McGinn's daughter" but her given name is Angela Rose.  (it is very odd to me that the author chose to not name her characters right away in the book...I'm sure there is a reason for it but I just couldn't pinpoint what that could mean).

Noah's wife is known as Dr. Yu's (the daughter of an eccentric man who dabbles in magic tricks and has been recently widowed) best friend.  Dr. Yu and her father both live in the city.  Dr. Yu cannot understand why Noah and his wife want to move away to this little town.

The townspeople begin to realize that the rain is not going to stop any time soon.  This is further explained by a visiting weatherman whom no one takes very seriously.  The water begins to swallow up the homes, stores, and the zoo.  The people of the town are forced to take in the various animals that are left in the zoo.  All of them grumble about this, but what choice do they have?
Soon, the flood waters even swallow up the only highway leading out of town and through the hills.  Noah, his wife, and all the townsfolk must soon confront not just the wild forces of nature, but their own ties that bind them to one another....they need to do this before their entire world is washed away.

Who will help them??  Will they ever be rescued??

MY THOUGHTS

Well, this was definitely different from most books I gravitate towards.

I liked it from a literary sense because it is deep (no pun intended!) and the characters are so well described. There is some humor in this book and it's a bit poignant.  But.....it is also just a bit odd.  The ending is one that promises hope yet is still gloomy.  You need to read it to understand what I'm trying to say.

It seems to be themed around the spirit of community and it looks at the human spirit when it is tested.....and it seems to be trying to answer the question of "is hope able to exist when all faith is gone?"

This book also, I think, is supposed to be a bit of a "feminist" type story...the leading characters are the women NOT Noah.

This was the author's first novel so I'm hoping she continues to write.  From a pure literary sense, this is very well written.  The story itself draws you in, but has an overall feeling of hopelessness........until the end........

In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 17 and older.

On a scale of 1-10, I give it an 8 for the storyline, but a 10 for the actual creative writing.  




23 September 2016

Mid-September Faves

I love Autumn and welcomed the first day yesterday with a smile....reflecting back on the week and finding FIVE of my FAVE moments/things/people.

Join in with us as we link up at Susanne's to share in God's blessings.

Hamilton County Waterfalls Challenge badge
  • CHALLENGE COMPLETED!  I finally received the Hamilton County Waterfalls Hiking Challenge patch!  I actually finished this challenge over the summer but hadn't sent in the paperwork.  I still need to sew it onto my backpack.  It's fun to work on the various hiking challenges in my beloved mountains. I'm thankful for God's creation.


  • SERMON SERIES:  Our senior pastor just started a new sermon series at church on Sunday entitled "Built to Last" centering around marriage!  Oh my goodness......it was a great sermon all about the foundation of marriage/relationships. He also included single people in his sermon so there is something for everyone.  We are blessed to have him preach and this is going to be a very welcome series as we can always improve our marriages and make them more spiritually fit.  I'm so thankful for my church and pastor.


  • NEW RECIPE:  I made this recipe this past week on one of our cooler evenings.  Oh my goodness. It was delish!! Of course my youngest, being a vegan, only ate the apples plus the side dishes. This is a keeper though.  The reason it makes my fave list is because here in New York State, one of our main crops are apples.  And right now, all the farms are ready with an abundance of them.  

Our front door compliments of Courtney

From our front stoop

New mums for the season

  • AUTUMN DECOR!  I love changing out the summer decor for the autumn stuff.  I don't have as much this year either...I have really minimized....the inside of the house is almost done so I didn't get photos of it because I am also in the beginning stages of re-painting and decorating the kitchen.  So it was kind of a shambles yesterday when I was taking photos.  But there is something about the autumn colors that I just love.....so wanted to share some of the decor with you. I'm thankful I live in the Northeast and get to see the 4 seasons come and go.

image courtesy of google images
  • CHURCH CLASS!  Since I am taking a break from being a small group leader this year, I decided to "get fed" and joined one of the Wednesday evening classes at church.  It's for women only and it's using the above pictured Bible study book.  WOW....I am already blown away by the depth of this study.  If you are unfamiliar with Priscilla Shirer, I highly recommend that you look her up.  This study is based on Ephesians 6:10-19 and I think it is very timely not just for us living in today's culture, but for my self personally and as a wife and mother. I'm very thankful for this class...and it's only for 7 weeks!  We will be done before the busyness of the holiday season!!
What brought a smile to your face this week?



21 September 2016

Something new!

I used to participate in the Simple Woman's Daybook and now she (Peggy) has posted that she is starting something new, called The Simple Woman's Cazette where the focus will be on Jesus and her thoughts.  I'm excited to be able to share the link with you.

Just click on the link below:

18 September 2016

Autumn Apple Chicken

Autumn is almost here!  Just a few more days and with that season come thoughts of apples, pumpkins, squash, casseroles, soups, stews, slow cooker meals on busy days and warm drinks.

Autumn in New York is amazing and not just because of the colors all around us.....we have a large apple harvest and here in eastern NY, we have many farms on the outlying areas that sell apples or let you pick your own.  

This recipe is one I found that features gala apples (my oldest daughter's fave) but I'm guessing a crisp Empire would do just as nicely.

image courtesy of tasteofhome website

AUTUMN APPLE CHICKEN

1 Tbsp canola oil
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
dash of salt
2 medium Gala apples, chopped
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 c. BBQ sauce
1/4 c. apple cider or apple juice
1 Tbsp honey

  • In a large skillet, heat the oil and then brown the chicken on both sides; sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
  • Transfer to a slow cooker and top with the chopped apples.
  • Add onion to the same skillet; cook over medium heat, stirring often for about 2-3 minutes or until tender.
  • Add garlic and cook another minute longer.  
  • Stir in BBQ sauce, juice, and honey.  Increase heat to medium high. Stir well to loosen any browned bits of garlic and onion.
  • Pour over chicken and apples.
  • Cook, covered, on low setting for 3-4 hours.
MEAL IDEA:

Serve with roasted sweet potatoes and zucchini.  Add steamed peas and/or steamed green beans.

You can also serve this over plain cous-cous or orzo and add veggies of your choice.

I sprinkled a little bit of cinnamon and nutmeg to the sauce.  

ENJOY!!



2016 Book Review #57: The Rumor


If you want to read an easy, quick novel, this is one that won't take you very long at all!!

She is one of my favorite "beach read" authors and although I haven't read all 15 of her books, I have read several and each one has been very well written.

STORY SUMMARY

The King family and Pancik family have been best friends for years.  They live on Nantucket Island, off the Cape Cod coast.

The Pancik family consists of Grace, who has the most beautiful gardens on Nantucket Island and her husband Eddie who is a real estate broker. They have twin daughters, Allegra and Hope.  Hope is the studious, serious one and Allegra is a social butterfly aspiring to be a model.
  
Madeline King is an author who is married to Trevor Llewellyn, an airline pilot for the plane that runs from Hyannis to Boston each day.  Their teen son Brick, is dating Allegra.

Both families get together often, but this summer....things are a bit different.

Grace is dealing with her gardener, Benton Coe, a well-known and well-liked landscape artist, and hopes to get her yard shown in the Homes and Garden section of the Boston Globe.  Benton and she have a great friendship, working often together in the gardens.  One thing leads to another and soon they are embroiled in an affair.  Grace believes she is in love with her gardener.

Meanwhile, Madeline is dealing with a case of writers block.  She just cannot come up with a story line.....until Grace confides in her about the affair.  All of sudden, Madeline has a story!!

Eddie, who is not doing well financially due to the slow housing market on Nantucket Island, begins to explore a little "side job" and one in which he could land in jail!!

Allegra and Brick have a falling out due to another boy in Allegra's life.

Soon......some rumors begin to fly on this little island because of all the  local busybodies...and Madeline and Grace need to set the record straight.  But...sometimes, the truth of what is happening is worse than the gossip.

What will happen to these families?? Will their friendship survive??

MY THOUGHTS


There were a lot of characters to keep track of, but the author does a great job in introducing each one.  The  book doesn't have chapters, but it is divided into sections, with each section being the voice of either Eddie, Grace, Madeline, or Hope.  Also, to represent the local gossips, there are sections titled "Nantucket".

The book's setting and descriptions of the towns/villages/beaches is superbly done.  I've never been to Nantucket but I've read many stories based on that island or on Cape Cod and I always get such a clear picture of what the island life is like....and friends who have been there have told me it is exactly as described.  Many wealthy homes, many locals who cater to tourists, etc.

I like how fast-paced the story was and how quickly the various dilemmas resolved themselves.  I especially loved that Eddie did have to deal with the consequences of his choices and bad decisions and that the family stayed intact.  That was well written!

The main themes in this story seem to center around marriage, friendship, betrayal, forgiveness, "coming of age", and the lengths people will go to in order to find financial security or wealth. I love how in the end, everyone realizes what really is important in life...and that it is NOT wealth.

In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 17 and older.

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this a 9.



16 September 2016

End of Summer Faves

It's time to reflect back on the week and link up with other bloggers to share our FIVE FAVE blessings from God. 

Did you know that being grateful leads to contentment and joy?

Please do share something you are thankful for this week....something that brought you a bit of happiness....linking mine up with Susanne each week helps me to stay grounded and thankful in even the "little" things.


  • SCRIPTURE!  I just love my morning or late afternoon "quiet time" with God.  This Scripture was brought to my mind as I looked out my kitchen window this week at the beauty all around me.....a baby bunny nibbling on our clover, the blue jays, woodpeckers, cardinals and sparrows at the feeder, the squirrels frolicking along the back fence, the sunshine spilling onto my dining room floor, the cooler temps rustling the living room curtains.  And all of this is by our Creator's Hand...reminding me of the glory of late summer turning into early autumn.  A true blessing.
Moreau Lake  at sunset as seen from my kayak
Moreau Lake State Park,
10 September


I love my kayak and late afternoons on the lake
photo courtesy of Melissa H.


Melissa enjoys Dave's kayak!



  • LATE LAKE DAY!  Last Saturday, my neighbor and I headed north to the lake. My fave time is to go between 3-7 pm...the lake is typically quiet and this time of year, the beach is officially closed due to no lifeguards.  We did end up jumping in the lake for a quick swim as it was just perfect temperatures.  The best thing?  We saw an eagle swooping over the small mountain and of course our smartphones were zipped into our life vests. By the time we dug them out, he was gone.  But we enjoyed a nice paddle and chatting time.  The weather has been simply gorgeous.

Dave is hard at work!
  • GARDEN WORK!  Our front "garden" (juniper, 2 rose bushes, tulips, irises, and peonies in spring) has been badly neglected this year.  The roses hold their own as do the tulips in the spring and for the most part, the peonies.  However, our juniper bush was starting to die in more than just one spot, creating an ugly look as well as extending up to almost our bedroom windows!  In fact, we discovered a missing part of one shutter which my hubby thinks maybe a branch broke off last winter......so now we need to replace the shutters.  That juniper was a tiny thing when we put it in just after building the house in 1994.  It was more than ready to come down.  We chopped up all the branches and left some bare ones for kindling for the fire pit.  We ended up bagging NINE bags for the town to haul away.  I then cleaned out the old mulch and in the spring will add some fresh garden soil, and hopefully some daisies and black-eyed susans.  It's a blessing to me that Dave took part of his sabbath to do this for me...and working together on the yard is always fun.
my sister Hope's living room
photo courtesy of Hope
  • VISIT TO CENTRAL NY:  On Thursday, I decided to go out to central NY to visit my dad (in the nursing home) and then stop to have lunch with my sister Hope who lives nearby in the woods.  Donny (her husband) basically built their home which my girls have always called "the little house in the big woods".  Hope and Donny have a very rustic look which I love.....although I could never live that far from civilization.  They love it!  I enjoyed my visit with Dad and he at least knew I'm his daughter this time around and we had some good conversation for the most part.  I had lunch with Hope and then we just relaxed and chatted and then went to get some soft serve ice cream at a fave ice cream stand near her.  Came back for some more conversation and coffee.  I basically spent the entire day with her and I loved it....it's nice that all 4 of us girls live relatively near each other and can take turns to visit Dad, too.
photo courtesy of Little Falls, NY business directory
  • PIZZA CHALLENGE AND CONNECTING WITH FRIENDS! Since Little Falls is so close to where my sister lives, I decided to do dinner that evening with my friend Diane and her cousin Rachael whom I haven't seen in several years!  It was so much fun to reconnect with Rach and her friend Jimmy whom I've known since my early 20s.  We did the Pizza Challenge event which was loads of fun although by the 3rd slice, I had to just take a bite out of the last 2 so I could make my vote between the 5 places.  We walked all over Main Street getting our slices and chatting.  We then got dessert for them and coffee for me at a lovely coffee bar in town.  My hometown area doesn't have much, but this particular place was awesome and the coffee was excellent!  I then had a long drive home in the dark but the day's memories will linger for a long time. 
That wraps up my week...nothing super exciting but lots of fun times connecting with people I love and doing things I love.

I hope you have a glorious weekend...here in eastern NY we are having some fantastic late summer weather!