Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries - Amy Newmark, Dr. Carolyn Ray-Bornstein

About the Book:

Did you know a traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs every 18.5 seconds in this country? TBIs occur due to accidents and sports, and are also common in returning soldiers. Chances are you, or someone you know, has been touched in some way by this experience. The personal stories in this book, by TBI survivors and those who love and support them, will help and encourage you and your family on the road to recovery. 

Whether you are recovering from a traumatic brain injury or supporting someone with a TBI, this collection of 101 inspiring and encouraging stories by others like you will uplift and encourage you on your healing journey.

My Review:

While there are many inspiring, even miraculous stories in this book, I didn't really enjoy it - for some reason it was not a page turner for me. Perhaps because I don't know of anybody who has suffered a severe brain injury. I have to say though, like all Chicken Soup books, the caliber of writing is very impressive. I came to the conclusion, that it would be more enjoyable for survivors of TBI and their families, as they'd be able to relate with the personal accounts recorded within these pages better than I could. I'm sure it takes a tremendous amount of courage and determination for someone recovering from TBI and patience and strength for the family and friends of these brave people. Even though I could not get into this book as much as I would have liked, I highly recommend it to anybody who has in some way been touched by a traumatic brain injury.

In exchange for an honest review, Shelton Interactive and Simon and Schuster provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Snapshot Muse # 23 - Himmel, Erde, Luft und Meer

This has been the longest time that I haven't posted anything on here, since I started this blog, I believe. And here I was planning on doing a Snapshot Muse every week. Yes, 'the best laid plans of mice and men go oft astray'. I've been busy with a whole lot of other things lately: school stuff, (I know, some days it seemed summer holidays haven't begun.) August conference related work, kitchen..... so social media sat on the back burner. Anyway, I'll use my Sunday afternoon siesta to jot down a few lines.

I love our stretching-for-miles prairie skies!! They're constantly changing and always beautiful, even in storms. I took this picture coming home from Winnipeg one day. Looking at it later, I thought, "Well, a few more lines, a treble clef, words and we'd have a song in the sky." Someone should write a song, or maybe there is one already and I just don't know about it. 'Prairie Skies' would make a lovely song title.

Many times, when I start working on these Snapshot Muse posts, I don't know which song I'll go with, and I always like to wait to see what will cross my mind as I write. The first song that came to me today, was written by, Joachim Neander (1650-1680), and is one that Hutterites have been singing for many years - it's all about praising God in nature.

Himmel, Erde, Luft und Meer
zeugen von des Schöpfers Ehr;
meine Seele, singe du,
bring auch jetzt dein Lob herzu.

2. Seht das große Sonnenlicht,
wie es durch die Wolken bricht;
auch der Mond, der Sterne Pracht
jauchzen Gott bei stiller Nacht.

3. Seht, wie Gott der Erde Ball
hat gezieret überall.
Wälder, Felder, jedes Tier,
zeigen Gottes Finger hier.

4. Seht, wie fliegt der Vögel Schar
in den Lüften Paar bei Paar.
Blitz und Donner, Hagel, Wind,
seines Willens Diener sind.

5. Seht der Wasserwellen Lauf,
wie sie steigen ab und auf;
von der Quelle bis zum Meer
rauschen sie des Schöpfers Ehr.

6. Ach mein Gott, wie wunderbar
stellst Du Dich der Seele dar!
Drücke stets in meinen Sinn,
was Du bist und was ich bin.

Prairie skies always make me think of peace and eternity and quiet time with God, especially when I'm walking by myself. There's just something special about walking alone: it's like you notice every blade of grass swaying in the breeze and every wispy cloud floating overhead. Things you usually miss when you're with another person and talking the whole time. Thus, I was reminded of another fitting song, which our choir used to sing years ago: 'My God and I go in the Field Together: 

Friday, 4 July 2014

Home Sweet Home - Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Amy Newmark

About the Book:

Home is where the heart is. Whether your home is an apartment, a house, or a condo — rented or owned — the 101 stories in this book, all about the place you call home, will warm your heart. You will find joy, laughter, and inspiration in this collection of stories about cooking, family meals, decorating, remodeling, repairing... everything we do to make a home. 

My Review:

I love the cover page of this book - it exudes warm and welcoming, what a loving home is all about! This would make an excellent gift for someone moving into a new home; no matter if it's newly built just for you, a stately well kept mansion, a cottage or just an old fixer upper. Somewhere within these pages you will find a story you will be able to relate with, or laugh and cry with other home owners. With chapters like 'On the Move', Do-It-Yourself Disasters, and Unwanted Guests' there really is something for everyone. My favourite story was, 'The World's Worst House', because it's a shining example that with determination, hard work and help from family an ancient run down building can be transformed into a just like new home.


In exchange for an honest review, Simon and Schuster, along with Shelton Interactive provided me with complimentary copy of this book. 

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Snapshot Muse # 22 - Something to Sing About

It's strange weather we're having here in Manitoba, on this Canada Day - cold and windy and wet and it's looking like more rain is on the way. Some areas are flooded already, crops are starting to suffer, so more rain is not good news.

But, as we all know, controlling the weather is out of our hands, so we have to take it as it comes and trust God with whatever happens.

I wish my fellow Canadians a wonderful day and lots of sunshine in the weeks ahead! Have a fabulous summer!

I took this picture in our yard last fall. Maple leaves are the prettiest leaves of all, eh? 
And here's one of my favourite Canada songs,
'Something to Sing About':

Friday, 27 June 2014


It's always exciting to see young people reach this important milestone. But also a bit nostalgic - knowing, after so many years in school with them, they will not be back in September. Thus, as we celebrated this achievement, our Grads of 2014 gave us a wonderful opportunity to look back on their school years. We had three grads, and they chose to do the valedictorian speech together. They took us from their early years all the way through High school - the favourite classes, fun times, not so fun times, struggles and over coming them, and emotional thank yous... So, their speech, beautifully written and presented, brought some smiles and tears.

I was reminded I have a few memories of Caleb, Shaniah and Damion right here on my blog:

All Figured Out in Grade Three, is a conversation between Caleb and  Shaniah.

School Chuckles - Mind Those Os - the boy in this story is Damion.

Caleb, Shaniah and Damion!
We will miss you in school,
but wish you all the best as you start
this new phase of your lives.
As you leave school days behind, 
 we hope you never stop learning.
We're proud of all you've accomplished,
and look forward to seeing you use
your acquired knowledge
to serve your community,
in whatever tasks lie ahead.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Brennan School - Big Ticker Award

I'm delighted to say, that is our school! This award is presented to the school with the greatest percentage increase in fundraising participants for JUMP from one year to the next. David and Ruth Asper from Winnipeg are the sponsors. Besides the beautiful framed certificate, we also received a $1400.00 cheque to go towards gym equipment or health education. This award was a complete surprise - we weren't aware that it existed, never mind that we were even in the running.

Here to present the award were, Catherine Newham, Program Coordinator for Portage and area, Sue Punter, Vice President Fund Development at Heart and Stroke and Heather Carrol, Provincial Manager of Community Programs.

We've been involved in the Heart and Stroke Foundation's Jump Rope for heart for many years. For a few years we even had a Demo Team - The Brennan Heartbeats. We traveled to different colony school to demonstrate skipping skills to help jump start their own skipping program.

Our students always enjoy these Jump Rope for Heart events, which we usually host at our school in early March, after they have practiced their skipping skills for a few weeks. It's an excellent program, because it promotes health and fitness and the fundraising aspect teaches students the importance of empathy and philanthropy.

Catherine Newham, Heather Percy, Sue Punter and one of teachers, Robert Maendel

Our sincere thanks to the 
Heart and Stroke Foundation of MB, 
the Asper Foundation, 
and Catherine Newham, 
who is a frequent visitor at our school 
and who was just as surprised and delighted
as we were to be the recipients of this prestigious award.
Also, our students for skipping their hearts out
every other year!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Child of Mine - David and Beverly Lewis

About the Book:

 Flight instructor Jack Livingston has been raising his eight-year-old adopted niece, Natalie, since the accident that took her parents' lives. When he travels, Natalie is tenderly cared for by her Amish nanny, Laura Mast, who loves the little girl as her own.

Eight excruciating years ago, Kelly Maines's baby was kidnapped. Determined to find her child, Kelly has tirelessly pursued every lead to its bitter end. And now, with the clock ticking, one last clue from a private investigator ignites a tiny flame of hope: Just a few miles away lives a young girl who matches the profile.

Can this be, at long last, Kelly's beloved daughter?

My Review:

I love stories about adoptions, because as often happens in real life, there is some drama involved, which in turn leads to emotional roller coaster rides. This book certainly falls under that category. I also enjoyed the fact that I was wrong, not once, but twice when I thought I had the ending figured out when I was not even half way through the book.  Woven into the intriguing storyline is heartache, happiness, forgiveness and trust - all things the endearing and believable characters deal with. I was hooked from the first chapter, even though I first felt in was very predictable. As far as Amish fiction goes, I enjoy stories that are not set in an Amish community, with all Amish characters. I prefer a few Plain characters who appear in the mainstream 'English' world. I'm not sure why, but maybe because many of those books are very similar, almost like nothing new ever happens. That's another reason why I found this book so captivating.  


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.