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

28 November 2015

2015 Book Review #41: The Nightingale

This book is a gem.

For those of you who know me well, you know I really like historical fiction, particularly if the setting is during the Civil War or World War 2 Europe.  This novel fits the later time-frame although every few chapters it jumps to 1995 Oregon.  


In the quiet French village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac must say "good-bye" to her beloved husband Antoine.  He has been ordered to join the military forces.  It is the start of World War II.  

No one in Carriveau...or Paris for that matter...really believe that the Nazis will invade their beloved country.  But...they do....and it is horrible.  The German forces begin to take over the little village as well as the city of Paris.  One German soldier demands to live in Le Jardin, the beautiful country home that has been handed down to Vianne from her side of the family.  She has no choice....she and her 7 year old daughter Sophie must live with the enemy.  His name is Beck.  If they don't allow him to live there, they could lose everything.  As danger begins to reach the far corners of their little village, Vianne must make one impossible choice after another just to keep her family alive.

Meanwhile, her younger sister Isabelle, age 18, is searching for a passion and purpose.  She has always been rebellious...ever since their Maman died and their Papa left them with a mean village woman to raise them.  Papa fled to Paris and opened a bookstore and basically abandoned his daughters, both physically and emotionally.

Isabelle recently ran away from yet another convent to live with her Papa whom she is hoping will finally love her as only a father can do.  However, when Paris is seized by the German Nazis, he forces her to leave the city and go to Vianne's home.  Isabelle, however, meets Gaetan and falls in love.  When he betrays her, she joins the Resistance....risking her life and her family's to save others. What will happen to her??  Will she ever see Gaetan again?? or her sister?

She is known as the Nightingale because their last name, Rossignol, means "nightingale".  Just what will the Nightingale do to aid others in this war??

Will she make it out alive??  Will she ever know the love of her Papa??

And what about Vianne??  Will she survive life without Antoine next to her?  What happens when her best friend Rachel, a Jew, is deported?? 
Read the book to find out.


This was one of the very best books I've read since this review.

This is a story of courage, love, passion, and ideals.  It is historically accurate and the depictions of the conditions in France and the concentration camps will make you weep.

The author shows a side of WWII we don't often hear about:  the bravery of the women and what some of them did to survive and help the innocent people whom Hitler was so evil towards.

It really depicts the strength and persistence of women and the resiliency of the human soul.

At first I was curious as to which sister was doing the talking in the first chapter which is set in 1995 Oregon.  She has been invited to go back to Paris for a special anniversary dinner honoring the work of "The Nightingale".  But which sister is the voice??  That is for you to find out!!  I don't want to spoil it for you. You will not find out until the book is almost finished.  

The character development is strong and probably (in my opinion) this author's best novel thus far.  (yes, I have read almost all of her other novels and have enjoyed almost all of them).

The setting is stark.......yet alive....so well done in describing Paris in WWII.  I just enjoyed every description and every emotion conveyed.

I believe everyone should read this novel.....it shows a side of WWII we don't often read about.  It will leave you thanking God that we haven't seen this type of horror since.  Not even in this latest round of terrorism.  Nothing has been like WW2 and I pray it never is again.

I do think this would make a most excellent movie IF the producers, directors, writers left it just like the author wrote it.

In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 14 and older.

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

27 November 2015

Thanksgiving Week Faves

I'm writing this on Thanksgiving morning while I sit in the breakfast area of the hotel where we are staying near Boston.  The clan is all gathering in a couple of hours for the yearly Thanksgiving Feast.  Before our mid-afternoon dinner, I'm taking my niece Debi, my sister in law Kathy and whomever else decides to go, on a 3.3 mile loop hike around a local pond that is supposed to be a glorious woods hike.  In fact, it is the only lake in eastern MA where there are no cabins or homes built on it and where no boats of any kind are allowed.  I can't wait! 

Meanwhile, I'm sharing FIVE FAVES from the week and then linking up with other bloggers over at Susanne's site. 

How about joining in and sharing some of your blessings from the week?


  • LOCAL HIKE!  Last Saturday, Claire had 2 rehearsals in Saratoga with 3 hours to kill in between each rehearsal.  While she was at the first one, I hiked for 2.5 miles in the park where the Museum of Dance/School of the Arts is located. Saratoga Spa State Park is vast so I only did one loop trail. I loved the scent of the pine needles which were abundant along the "avenue of the pines" and the spot of summer color lingering in the woods on one of the more remote trails I hiked.  It was the perfect way to spend a late autumn day.

  • OUTDOOR LIGHTS!  On Sunday, my oldest daughter volunteered to help me get the outdoor Xmas lights up on the porch post and around the pine tree.  We found out we needed an extra extension cord plus some silk poinsettas for a porch arrangement. While we were shopping for those items, we discovered this lighted tree branch on sale for 50% off!  We grabbed it (there were only 2 left) and put it in this corner of the family room.  It makes the room look so cozy!  I love decorating for Xmas and I'm most thankful that the outdoor part is done!

  • WALKING AND LAUGHTER: Yesterday, after checking into the hotel, we drove to my inlaws which is about an hour south of Boston.  We had lunch with them after my girls helped Grammy bake pies for the Feast.  Then, the girls and I walked to the local DD to get some hot chocolates and meet my sister in law.  What fun we had walking through Dave's hometown (a 3 mile walk!!) and we had so many good laughs with Kathy (my husband's brother's wife).  We all then met up at Kathy and Peter's house before heading out to dinner where more laughter occurred.  Good food, family, and fun times......always thankful for this.
Kathy and our niece Debi

beautiful New England woods

Gates Pond Hike
Berlin, MA
26 November 2015

Pine trees!!

very indicative of New England trails....natural stone walls
  • THANKSGIVING HIKE!  I was in heaven when I discovered that the town where we were having Thanksgiving dinner has a very popular hiking trail around a pristine lake.  The locals call it a pond but it was large....like the lakes in NY.  Because Dave's youngest sister Paula was hosting and cooking dinner, she was too busy to hike.  The only people (out of 16) that I could get to hike was my sister in law Kathy, and Paula's two kids, Ronnie and Debi (ages 15 and 14).  We had so much fun!  It was a 2.5 mile hike and an absolutely gorgeous day. All we really needed were heavy sweaters.  I'm so thankful I finally got to do a real hike this month!

  • THANKSGIVING FEAST AND FAMILY!  Fun day today.......from the hors d'oeuvres after the hike to sipping amazing wine, to hugging on my niece from England and her boyfriend and her mom Karen from California, to singing and laughing and feasting on great food with all the traditional ingredients, to eating pie, and drinking more wine, and laughing, talking, making memories.......I thank God.  

So those are my Thanksgiving faves.......plus this bonus:  Completed Operation Christmas Child boxes.....packed and taken to church so they arrive in a child's arms by Christmas day........always a great thing and I'm so thankful the family still enjoys doing this activity.

I hope and pray you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving......amidst the evil going on all over the world and the strife and hate, it is good to sit back and reflect on what God is doing in the body of Believers.  It is good to give thanks unto our Lord.........

23 November 2015

I pray that all of my American blogging friends have a safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving as we set aside time to reflect on all that God has given to us...........

Please note:  I'm taking a blogging break due to traveling for the holiday......yup.........back to Boston...........and I hope to be back for Friday's FFF........if not, I will see you sometime next weekend!!

20 November 2015

Simple Faves

Another week has flown by and in looking at my calendar, I'm beginning to wonder how I'm going to fit everything in for this upcoming holiday season.

Meanwhile, let's pause and find FIVE blessings from the week and link up with Susanne's site.


  • DECK DONE!  Last weekend was another mild weather weekend so we took advantage of it and cleaned up the deck for the coming winter season.  Dave and my oldest gal cleaned out the shed and rearranged things in there so that we could put the swing cushions inside, the bonfire pit in, and 2 of the 4 bikes.  He also helped me clean off the deck by folding up chairs, putting the decor away (other than one harvest plaque I still have hanging from the trellis) and put away all the empty planters.  Believe it or not, I still have some nice mums blooming, along with roses still on my rose bush!!  I'm thankful we got a lot done last Saturday.
Emma just after being immersed by her youth pastor
  • NIECE'S BAPTISM:  Sunday was my youngest sister's daughter's baptism.  Emma is turning 13 in March and decided to get baptized at her church. (it's about 45 minutes north of us) What a wonderful statement of faith and testimony she read in front of their congregation.  (there were several teens getting baptized when we were there visiting).  My sister and her husband were so happy and I was very thankful that my daughters were able to go with me to see their little cousin take this public step of faith.  It was just wonderful!
new cut and color!
  • NEW CUT!  Last weekend, my youngest daughter needed her hair cut a little bit and I decided to make my color touch-up for the same time.....and at the last minute decided I am NOT going to grow my hair back out to a long bob but rather, I wanted this asymmetrical short bob cut.  AND I LOVE IT!  It still needs to get a little longer on the right side as I'm still growing out old layers, but it's fresh and the color is a deeper brunette with some purple highlights (hard to tell in the pic).  I'm thankful for good cuts!

  • SPONTANEOUS DATE:  Last Sunday evening, the girls were both busy and I didn't feel like cooking, so Dave and I went out for a super spontaneous date.  Nothing fancy...just our local diner for a bison burger and sweet potato fries....it's the only place in town where I can find a decent burger that doesn't feature beef. I rarely eat burgers so this was a super special treat. Dave had some kind of seafood dish that he said was yummy.  We had a good time...I'm thankful we can do stuff like this once in awhile!

  • REAL MAIL!  This past week, I received a real letter in the mail!  It was from one of Dave's cousins......we are close and she is a Christian.....and it was just great to hear from her.  We have plans to go visit her for a couple of days in the spring (she lives near Hershey, PA) when we take our youngest to Philadelphia to look at this college.  I'm thankful we both like to write letters and stay in touch this way......it's fun!
Those are just some simple things....but it made the week special.

What were your faves this week? Please share one!

Happy weekend!!

19 November 2015

Roasted Veggies over Risotto

I don't know about you, but since we've been eating meat less and less each week, I find it harder and harder to acquire good veggie based meals..........it's definitely more expensive but so much better for us!  Here's a recipe I kind of "made up".....I did check online to see how long one should roast veggies as that's something I never used to do......and I wanted to get some herb ideas. I ended up tweaking one recipe so much that it really is my own!

This was a huge hit with the family. This is a recipe that serves 4 with just about a cup of veggies left over.  Add more veggies or risotto for a larger group.


2-3 large red potatoes, cut into chunks
1 large sweet potatoe, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 c. chopped red onion
1 large bunch of broccoli crowns, chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced 
1/2 tablespoon of dried rosemary
1/2 tablespoon of herbs de Provence
dash of black pepper
1/3-1/2 c. of olive oil
1 Tablespoon of Citrus Rice vinegar

  • In a large baking dish (I used a 13x9 inch glass dish), spray with coconut or olive oil cooking spray and add all the veggies.
  • In a small bowl, mix all the other ingredients and pour over the veggies, making sure to coat.  You might need to add in a little bit more of the olive oil.
  • Roast in an oven that has preheated on 450 degrees.  Roast for 45 minutes.
MEANWHILE:  Cook, according to the package directions, one box of Traditional Italian Creamy Parmesan Risotto.  I prefer this brand.

Once the veggies are tender, serve right in the baking dish.  Pour risotto into a large serving bowl.
Serve with veggies spooned over the risotto or, like some people in my family, serve separately.  

TIPS:  you can prepare these veggies the evening before if you have a busy work schedule and are pressed for time once you are home from work.

You can substitute the onions for red pepper and the broccoli for zucchini or yellow squash if desired, or simply add in those items.
You can also serve this over orzo or parmesan cous-cous.  

Sprinkle with fresh grated Parmesan cheese...a fave in my family.

DINNER IDEA:  The roasted veggies over the creamy risotto can stand alone OR add a side dish of steamed chopped spinach.  Sometimes I serve this with a fruit cup of watermelon, cantaloupe, fresh raspberries, blackberries, blueberries.  

as with any of the recipes found on this blog with the label "faithfixes" you do have permission to copy this post!

18 November 2015

If God............

This Scripture.

I had to memorize this as a young child in a Bible club. 

 It was the memory verse at last week's Bible study.......most of us Christians can recite it......

I know this Scripture.  But do I always believe it?

Do I believe it when I see fear all around the world......all through social media.....all through the church........

Why are we fearing?  Those of us who are Believers need not fear!!  (we do win in the end you know)

Why am I seeing Believing relatives and friends spewing out hatred on social media sites???  We cannot solve the problems of terrorism with hatred and fear.

Jesus tells us to love our neighbors. This is a command!!
 Our neighbors include people of all religions not just our own religion. Our neighbors are people of color, of a different race, ethnic group, a different gender, a different socio-economic status..........

 Yes, we can hate what some of these fundamentalist/extremist groups are doing to innocent people.  We would be heartless if we weren't upset.  But afraid of refugees who are also fleeing this evil??  No...we need not fear. 

 Perfect Love casts out fear.

Let's rise above the angst and hatred spewing forth in online videos and posts.

If God is for us....no one can be against us.  They can try. But God is our defender.

and God will bless us for following Him and not denying Him.......

 and for showing Love.  

This is one of the great commandments:  This means we need to be focused on doing this:

And this is the second greatest commandment:

Be different!!


And pray.....that hearts would turn toward the One True God...the LIVING GOD!

And do not fear......He is for us!

If we just loved with all our heart...with all our soul...with all our strength......

and if we just loved our neighbors................showing the Love of Jesus...being the hands and feet of Jesus........

If we did this....and If God is for us..........

We don't lose.