Saturday, February 18, 2017

Delilah - Treacherous Beauty by Angela Hunt

We all know the basic story Samson and Delilah.  But the bible itself gives a very little background to the infamous woman who brought Samson, the judge and strongman of Israel, down.  In this retelling, Angela Hunt has written the story of a young girl who's mother marries a Philistine business man and takes them from their home in Egypt to his home in Gaza.  Though her stepfather is loving and kind to her mother and herself, Delilah's stepbrother is another story.  Cruel and vindicitive, he takes every opportunity to make Delilah feel unwelcome.  When her stepfather dies suddenly only a few months later, Delilah's life changes for the worst as her stepbrother sells her mother as a slave and turns her into his prisoner, severely abusing her.  But Delilah is determined to make an escape and find her mother and buy her back so they can make their way back to their homeland.  Easier said than done, but an opportunity presents itself and Delilah grabs her chance.  But she must go without her mother as she has nothing.  When some Jewish traders take pity upon her and offer her help she goes with them vowing to someday return for her mother.  In her travels she comes across the legendary Samson, in the years to come knows she must turn to him to help her with her plans.  But she doesn't count on actually falling in love with the strongman and it all comes to a head when she must make a choice between love and ambition and revenge.

I really liked this story of Delilah.  Who has not wondered what was her story was and how she could do such a thing?  Not much historical or biblical fact is found about Delilah other than her betrayal of the mighty Samson.   But what in her past would bring her to a point that would make her go down in history as one of the greatest betrayers of all time?  Angela Hunt has imagined a young foreign girl viciously hurt by the circumstances of her life and trying desperately to put her life back together so when she sees opportunity she takes it.  She has taken the premise that "human nature demands that we rationalize our actions" (author's notes: pg 341) and woven both the motivations of Delilah and Samson through that.   The time of the judges of Israel and Samson's background was interestingly woven into the story and I learned a few things about that time and how women were treated.    The story is told in alternating chapters both from Delilah and from Samson's points of views.  And the same as with the building of the other biblical character's in this series, the author stuck close to the biblical story and to human nature and worked out from there.  Again it is to the reader's advantage to read the author's notes at the back that explain how the story was built.

I gave this third installment in the A Dangerous Beauty Novel series a 9/10.  

Friday, February 17, 2017

Friday's Fave Five #418

Hi everyone!  Hope it's been a wonderful week of love for everyone.  This world can use a whole lot more love and I like to think that Valentine's remind us to not just have a romantic love but a love that cares about each person we come into contact with knowing that we are all human beings in need of kindness and love and grace.  So what were your blessings that made you feel loved or happy or encouraged from this last week?  Join in and share 5 of your favorites with us.

1.  Valentines cards.  I've always loved cards, ever since I can remember.  I've loved giving them and I love receiving them.  Sometimes they just say in print what I can't articulate in words out loud.  Hubby and I shared cards this valentines as usual but what really struck me was that in spite of being two entirely different cards, we both chose cards that basically said the same thing.  It was really cool being on the same page with the sentiment we wanted to express this year to each other.

2.  Working out with a friend.    I usually like going to the gym but not gonna lie, some days it is just plain hard for whatever reason.  It's so nice to have a friend there sharing the same pain, so to speak.  Though we don't talk alot because we are after all supposed to be working hard, just her presence working alongside me is encouraging.  And sharing a laugh or two in the midst of the work makes it fun.  So thankful that I have a workout buddy to share that time with at least once a week.

3.  Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.  This was on tv two nights this week.  I love watching this show.  It's been going for 141 years!  The first show was in 1877.  Wow.  The dogs always make me smile with their cute expressions and reactions and I find the descriptions of the breeds interesting.  It's a relaxing, fun watch for me.    My favorite this year was a dog new to Westminter Kennel Club.  The Hungarian Pumi stole my heart.  I mean, look at those ears. Too adorable.  I now want one.

4.  Lotion.  I can be kinda fickle with my lotion scents.  Sometime I love a scent when I first get it and then about 1/3 of the way through the bottle I'm done with it.  Good thing Bath and Body Works has old favorites as well as ever changing seasonal scents.  I'm kinda really liking this scent right now.

5.  Bernard Callebaut Chocolates.  I would be remiss not to mention that Hubby got me my fave chocolates for valentine's day.  He usually buys me the big chocolate heart that is filled with one of all their flavors but this year I asked him not to get me that.  It's a lot of chocolate and though I love it I am really trying to not eat so much sweets.  So instead he got me a smaller box of my favorite type of Bernard flavors which is the creme fraiche ones and the caramels.  So yummy.  

What were your favorite blessings this week?

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Only in Canada, Eh?

In light of all the snow we've had I just had to share this picture apparently taken in the Roger's Pass, B.C.  Gave me a good chuckle this morning.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday's Fave Five #417

Happy Friday everyone!  Ready to look for blessings and good things from your past week?  Then please join us as we list 5 of them.

1.  Whiplash weather.  Well after 18 inches of snow in two days this last weekend, and the night o' cold rivaling the north pole on Tuesday night, yesterday we had a balmy 5*C (41*F).  That's a warm up of, oh abou 47*C in 2 days?  Almost made me want to dig out the capris and tanks.  Gotta love southern Alberta.  And no Leonardo DiCaprio, it is not global warming as you went on a rant about, it is a chinook.  Ya might wanna look that up.  Anyhoo, I won't complain about it, I'll take it and it's going to be even nicer next week!  The only downside?  All that snow?  Yeah it's melting fast so everything is pretty slushy and muddy!  But it's warm!  
2.  Great read.  After lots of friends recommending the book The Forgotten Garden, I finally bumped it up on my TBR list and got around to reading it this last week.  It was hard to put down, that's for sure.  A very good, and heartbreaking story.  I really enjoyed it and was glad I made the time for it cause it is a chunky one for sure at 549 pages.  Full review to come.

3.  Banana Cream yogurt.  I discovered this yogurt this week and I am hooked.  It tastes like banana cream pie without the crust.  Because it is a yogurt that isn't plain it does have the sugar factor though so I'm going to keep it as a treat rather than a staple and have it for when I am craving a dessert.  At least that way I can tell myself that I'm getting calcium out of it.  :)

4.  Breakfast.  Never having been a big breakfast eater, with the exception of when I'm on holidays, I have found myself in the past months getting used to a good hearty breakfast.  Hubby has taken it upon himself to cook eggs for us most mornings and though at first I would only have a wee portion now I find I can eat a really good breakfast.  He makes them in various ways so we have variety and I try and add a good dose of some kind of veggies such as spinach or peppers or grape tomatoes.  It gets me all the way through until the afternoon before I am hungry again and it seems to make for a much better mood than just drinking coffee all morning and trying to get some energy from that.  It's also really nice having it cooked for me.  That's a two for one blessing right here.

5.  It's Friday.  It's been a bit of a hectic week with some extra stuff on my plate so I'm really glad it is the last working day and the weekend is upon us.

What were your favorite blessings this week?

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

It's C-c-c-c-cold!

Us Canadians are a tough bunch, no doubt about that.  But even the most hardy of us here in southern Alberta are feeling the chill tonight as wind chills are taking us to -43*C.  That is -45.4*F people!  Beyond deep freeze cold,   that is 3 degrees colder than the average winter North Pole cold!  Seriously... I looked it up!

I think I am in total agreement with this little guy:

Friday, February 03, 2017

Friday's Fave Five #416

Welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  Join this wonderful weekly community who comes together on Friday's to intentionally look for and share five of our blessings in life from the last week.  This week just zoomed by for me.  I wasn't feeling well so getting through the work day and falling asleep early was basically all I did for 3 days.  So this little weekly exercise is especially good for me in this kind of week as those blessings might have slipped right by me.  Please join on in.

1.  Warm & Cozy Throw blankets to curl up under.  I have spent plenty of time under one or another of these for the past several days.  

2.  Hot tea.  I don't know what it is about not feeling well, but I wake up craving tea rather than coffee.  And that is unusual for coffee loving me.    This week I've had soothing cups of peppermint, fruity sips of peach and even spicy chai types of tea. 

3.  Homemade soup.  Another thing I crave when not feeling well is a hot tasty bowl of soup.  In keeping with the theme that I guess this post is adhering to, to make myself feel better I made a nice pot of hamburger soup.   I have a wonderful recipe that basically takes 10 minutes to put together and about 20 - 30 minutes to cook, super easy.  And yet so comforting.  Paired  with the absolutely delicious Red Lobster biscuits that again only take minutes and it was the best not feeling well meal ever.  

 4.  Just Breathe Scentsy wax melts.  Eucalyptus, lemon and different mints combine to make it easier to breathe.  One of my favorite scentsy fragrances.  Though I don't have a stuffy nose it was really soothing to my tight lungs.  I

5.  And for this last one, I'm going to break the pattern here and say how thankful I am for Safe travels for my youngest as she had a business trip to Toronto and back.  I was thrilled that she had this opportunity and experience but I was even more thrilled to see her walk back in the door safe and sound.

Well southern Alberta's groundhog predicted 6 more weeks of winter and it seems the weather is listening because Alberta is chilling up again and snow is predicted this weekend.  It sounds like a good time to cozy up with a good book, those comfy blankets and more tea.  Hope you all have a nice cozy weekend too. 

What were your favorites from the last week?

Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday's Fave Five #415

Hello everyone!  How has your week been?  Was it great with so many good things you can't even count?  Or was a bit tougher and you really have to use discipline to look for the blessings?  Or was it so mundane and everyday that the blessings are hiding in the routine? No matter which way your week went join us in creating a thankful lifestyle by looking for good things, blessings, in our lives.

1.  Open windows.  It has been awhile this winter since I've been able to open some windows due to the cold.  But this week I have had them open everyday.  There is something about fresh air moving through the house that's worth the house cooling off a bit.  Felt so good and smelled so nice.

2.  Making progress on the grocery shopping routine .  I made a decision at the beginning of 2017 that my goal was going to be to get into a grocery shopping routine.  It was becoming to regular of an occurence to keep putting it off and putting it off until we were running out of all sorts of things and I'd find myself on late Sunday afternoon, tired and facing the coming workday with my grocery shopping yet to do.   So I've been working on building a routine that works and that I can live with and sustain.  My budget comes on the 1st and 15th so I'v4e been working on going to Costco one Saturday and then the regular grocery store the next Saturday.  Even when I don't feel like it I've been making myself get it done before the Saturday late afternoon.  What a difference!  No more marathon trips that leave me totally exhausted.  Hopefully I will have the same success in February with it that I did in January!  

3.  The purge continues.  Seems every January finds me antsy to get rid of stuff.  I've already sent one box to the thrift store and a second is waiting for me to take over this weekend.  I've put a few stuff for sale on the buy and sells and I've sold most of those.  It feels really good.  I had to get real with some of the stuff but once I made that tough decision it was great to get rid of it and let it go to someone who will put it use and like it.  And it put a few dollars in my pocket to boot. 

4.  Movie evening with hubby.  Sunday evening spur of the moment we watched the movie "Risen".  It's one we've seen a couple of times before but we really like it.  It was nice to just sit with him on a Sunday evening and have nothing else to do.

5.  Warm and Cozy Teas from DavidsTea.  One of my dayhome families gifted me the  variety pack of Warm and Cozy Teas and I've been enjoying the different flavors.  I love enjoying a warm cup of tea in the cold evenings, so relaxing.  And with flavors like chocolate covered almond and coffee cake to name a couple, I can trick myself into thinking I've had a bit of a sweet dessert.    I ate way too many things that involved sugar over the holidays so this is a nice change of pace and still makes me think I've had a treat. 

What were your favorite blessings from the week?