Monday, 31 March 2014

The Secret Adversary - Book Review



The Secret Adversary 

by

Agatha Christie


Shelfari Description

Tommy and Tuppence, two young people short of money and restless for excitement, embark on a daring business scheme, Young Adventurers Ltd. Their advertisement says they are 'willing to do anything, go anywhere'. But their first assignment, for the sinister Mr Whittington, plunges them into more danger than they ever imagined.



My Thoughts


This is the second book Agatha Christie had published and is so remarkably different from her first which featured Poirot.  Just as you fall in love with the precise Belgian detective who has experience in this field, we also fall in love with the two inexperienced "detectives" here.

It is the way Christie writes the characters of these two sleuths that make this such an enjoyable read.  You are with them all the way as they have clever thoughts and make stupid mistakes but then isn't that what would happen if we ordinary people decided on a whim to go into this type of business?  Of course they do have help from a few other sources and then there are the notable "baddies" as befitting the time setting of this story.  

I had read this many years ago but got caught out on who was the elusive Mr Brown and I think that this is also an indication of her good writing that I was not going on what I may have remembered from the previous reading but was going by what I was reading this time.

I am looking forward to reading the next Tommy and Tuppence Adventure and I do think that the title Young  Adventurers was the correct one for the author to chose for this couple as they should never be compared to the detective she had already created; just enjoyed for the characters they are.



1922


Below is a link to a list of her novels on Shelfari
Books by Agatha Christie

Below is a link to her page on Amazon
Amazon's Agatha Christie Page



Sunday, 30 March 2014

Why We Worship 13



I am taking time each week to ask myself "Why we worship"



We have already looked at the omnipresence of God so today I wanted to consider the 

Omniscience of God


                This simply means that God is 


All-knowing


 This includes the past, the present, and the future, and everything within these times.

 It includes what has actually happened and will actually happen but it also includes what could have happened and what could happen in the future depending on how we exercise our free will.

                       So he knows what will happen and he knows what "could" happen.

There was never a time when God did not know everything and there never will be a time when God does not know everything.

Does this not give us a great security because we have a God who knows all things about us, about everyone else and about the universe.



How could He not be the rock for us to hold on to.


Do you agree?



Saturday, 29 March 2014

#100HappyDays - Week 6

CHALLENGE



The Challenge

is to take a picture of something that makes you happy each day for 100 days and post it on facebook or twitter or google plus, etc.


I have chosen to put it on Facebook each day but also each Saturday I will do an update for the week on my blog.


Some things this week involved a lot of effort on my part like Fri & Sat  but other things were things that happened and I was honoured to be able to enjoy them.

I love it when we get to enjoy the goodness of God to others as well.

Then there are the relaxing times and God is happy for us to enjoy those too - well He must be when He enabled someone to create lovely biscuits.


34. SUNDAY

We had a baby dedication in church tonight.  






35. MONDAY

One of the boys at the kids after school Bible Club came to tell me that he had asked Jesus into his heart on St. Patrick's Day.







36. TUESDAY

I just enjoy playing around with pics and graphics and some of my ipad apps









37. WEDNESDAY

I opened the new tin of Ikea biscuits for my cuppa in the afternoon.  
They are great for dunking in my coffee.











38. THURSDAY

I love to see the mantlepiece of our Lounge decorated like this.







39. FRIDAY

I was so happy to be able to walk into Fred's office and not have to walk round anything.  There is Floor Space NOW!







40. SATURDAY

Empty ironing basket.  Not often that is seen in our house!







So thankful for the big events of this week and also for the little moments.

Thank you God for your salvation and the young life that was changed.





Friday, 28 March 2014

Too Busy for Housework? - Housework / Funwork 13


It's the end of the month!



      Did all the jobs get done?      NO



                Is everything ticked off in the lists?      NO



                           Is everything noted in the inventories?      YES  sort of!


Was it all hard work or did we have any fun this week?


One thing I enjoyed about this week was the fact that Fred worked with me in the Office on different evenings to get it all in order and to be honest we did fight, but not enough to fall out about it all.


The biggest problem was trying to sort out all the leads and find containers of different sizes and types to see which would be the best.    I am going to go back to the Lakeland Shop to get more of these cream baskets I had bought there, they have them in lots of different widths and depths and they are a very good price too.





Another long tiresome job was the inventory of this room because it has so much in it.

As you know from last week the Dvds were detailed in a spreadsheet so they were fine for the inventory but the rest of it all could not be done in great detail so numbers of leads, headphones, computer discs etc. were not included but locations were.

If I had tried for the detail I usually put into the Inventory I would now be mental 
and there would be no fun part at all.



Now for the update of the Office Overhaul  (you can remind yourself of how bad it was before from the pics in the Not the Office!!!!! post from two weeks ago).

Just two of the booksheleves and how they looked to start with



Now all 4 bookcases are sorted so that there is no longer the big mixture of everything everywhere




















Now remember I had said I wanted things in order not perfect because I knew perfect would never be an option in this room, but let's face it perfect is not really an option anywhere in our house even if I would love it.


However moving things around and taking some things out of the room has meant that I can now enter the office without having to walk around things and the guitars are so much easier to get at now.

See BEFORE



And now AFTER

Look at the floor space here!



















The last job I did was the To Do list for the Office




Now why did I not get everything done this month?

Simply because I had probably made this month a very intense one with the Sun Room, Office and the Garden all being together on the schedule.


Then Fred & I also went out more this month and relaxed together more this month and took on a Lenten Bible Reading Plan which involves us taking 30 mins each day reading the Bible together so that we have read through the entire New Testament in the 40 days leading up to Easter. See button on side of blog.


Celebrating Fred's Birthday with our son and daughter-in-law

I also took on another Blog series on Saturdays



and I did a guest post "Wee Green Things for March 17th" for another blog in the middle of the month.



So maybe we can say that the Fun part of this month was covered in other things;  just not the housework this time.


Do you think so?





Linking up with
METAMORPHIS MONDAY

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

How far would you go for a Biscuit? - A Dose of Encouragement 13


Would you go to the kitchen cupboard?

   Would you go to the corner shop?

      Would you go to the supermarket at the other side of your town?

                                            Probably yes!


On Saturday we went 45 mins by car to the other side of Belfast just to get a certain type of biscuit.  We went to Ikea for their Pepparkaka Ginger Thins.

(I'm just wondering if they would be willing to pay me for this great advertisement for their biscuits hmmm?)

Saturday was Fred's birthday and our son and daughter-in-law had invited us to come for a birthday meal and Suzie had promised Fred cake.



So by Friday I was wondering what else we were going to do before going to see them in Belfast.

I decided that this was a good opportunity to go to Ikea and stock up on their biscuits.

The first reason being that I can have 3 of these biscuits with a cup of coffee in the afternoon and not use up too many calories as opposed to the chocolate biscuits that Fred likes.  The second reason is that I love to dunk these biscuits in my coffee and the third reason was that we had run out of them at home a few months ago.



So really we were not driving all that distance just for the biscuits but using the opportunity to go a little bit out of our way when we were already going to Belfast.

This got me thinking!

We went out of our way for something I wanted, but how much do we actually go out of our way to do something for others?


We did something for someone just the previous week which took a couple of hours of our Saturday because we had to drive a distance again and we were happy that what we did had helped to make this other person happy.  But many times we can look on making an effort for others as taking up our time and energy when we should be thinking of things that others need help with or that would add a little joy to their lives.

It is so easy to go on each day with our lives and have them centre around us and God but not around others.  Yet Jesus set us a clear example of  how his days on earth were centred around God and others before himself.  Look at how tired Jesus was at various times.

We drove home on Saturday night smiling and feeling very happy because we had spent a lovely evening with Daniel and Suzie,  but we also went home the previous week happy because we had put a smile on someone else's face and made her happy.

There should definitely be room in our lives for both of these types of days and for a lot more of them than there has been recently.



I am thankful that God wants us to help others.


Have you also noticed that in the helping of others our lives are enriched as well as theirs?








Sunday, 23 March 2014

Why We Worship 12



I am taking time each week to ask myself "Why we worship"


Oh I have such a problem this week!

There are just too many verses in the Bible that I want to share because today I'm thinking about how good God is.

I will pick this one especially as our Pastor highlighted another one of them a few months ago and I featured it in an earlier post Thankfulness, Goodness, Love.





When we think about this we probably tend to compare the goodness we see in the acts of others toward us or toward other people, with the Goodness of God.

But we really cannot do this as the goodness of God is perfection because He know what is best for everyone and our goodness toward each other can never be perfect. 

Thankfully, because we learn from God then we can reflect some of His Goodness in the acts we do too.

       Thank you God!

                      and we can all shout together

                                                                   Psalm 100:5





#100HappyDays - Week 5

CHALLENGE



The Challenge

is to take a picture of something that makes you happy each day for 100 days and post it on facebook or twitter or google plus, etc.


I have chosen to put it on Facebook each day but also each Saturday I will do an update for the week on my blog.


This week again had a variety of things that I picked as my happy moments of the day, some were events and involved going somewhere others involved memories and a couple involved food.

On quite a few of the days this week it was hard to choose what to pick as there were different things during the day that qualified and I sort of thought it wasn't fair that I had to choose between them.  Maybe I should have just gone ahead and posted more some days.


The main common thread this week I think was that most of them involved other people, not that I need others to be happy but it is lovely when others are involved in our happy times and hopefully those become their happy times as well.  Helping to make someone else happy is definitely something worth being involved in.

27. SUNDAY

I was happy to be able to make a gift for a friend for church







28. MONDAY

Fred took me to Downpatrick to see the St. Patrick's Day Parade there.  
This was the first ST. Patrick's Day Parade we had ever been to.  
It was great to see a parade float praising God.







29. TUESDAY

I spoke at the assembly in a Primary School today and took these three items in with me as visual aids.  They led to the country our daughter is living in (Korea) and then I spoke about God being everywhere.






30. WEDNESDAY

Happy memories of the many butterflies which gathered around the Buddlea Bush at our home in Tervuren, Belgium.








31. THURSDAY

One of the graphics I had created was featured in an online magazine (see the bottom of the magazine page.






32. FRIDAY

So happy that there was one Mr Frostie ice pop left in the box because I don't like the Mrs Frosties







33. SATURDAY

Celebrating Fred's birthday with Daniel & Suzie, our son and daughter-in-law.




Who was involved in helping to make you happy this week?

Or more importantly who were you helping to be happy this week?


Friday, 21 March 2014

How many Dvds can one home have? - Housework / Funwork 12


Or maybe I should say

How many Dvds can one Room have?


Now I know that some people buy Dvds watch them and then sell them on ebay.
I buy them on Amazon or ebay and we watch them but we do not generally get rid of them.  Most of them are kept, especially the boxsets and they are stored in The Office

So this was the first thing I tackled in Fred's Office.   

Firstly because he would not ever consent to sorting them.
Secondly because he would not have done it properly - ie. in an organised fashion, noting what collections were complete and which series or episodes we had watched.

We had a little notebook which the kids & I had started some years back trying to keep track of the Dvds we were watching, who was watching and where we have got to in each series etc.
You see our problem was that in a family of five who were not always together it was hard to keep track of what we could watch depending on who was there.  Then it was the combinations of the five of us and what some of us could watch after Fred had gone on to bed.  After that it was which series and which episode so we could end up wasting a lot of time looking through to see which episodes had been watched or not.

Nice little notebook and we kept it up to date for quite some time but then the same as everything else we got lazy about it.


I had a look through the apps for my iPad and found a free collections app to try out.

It would only take one collection and if you wanted more collections then the paid version was required.
Taking Dvds as my one collection I started to put in my box sets but after filling in several of them and then trying to put in further details I found that the app just did not give me the flexibility I needed just for the more general info and definitely would not be able to go into the finer detail I would need for noting which series of each set had been watched, which series I still needed to get, which sets had not been started yet etc.

So I came to the decision that a Spreadsheet was the only way to go.

At first I was disappointed as I thought I would have preferred to have that info in an app and so be able to access it easily vis the iPad anytime I was out shopping but on second thought I realised that this would not be a great advantage as I rarely buy Dvds in the shops but mostly online so the spreadsheet would be fine for that.

Hence a lot of time this week was spent getting this set up and filled in and some sort of logical system and Colour Coding thought out to suit me.

Of course this is only one section of the spreadsheet as it is quite long, it is in Alphabetical order and this only shows from A - F so is about one one quarter of my list of box sets.




















As you can see from the Key I am noting which

  • series are still to be bought
  • series are bought but still to be watched
  • series are watched
  • titles are started/ongoing
  • titles are all bought and all watched
  • titles are all bought but not started yet
  • titles are not all bought and not started yet

I have also included the years of production and the initials of the members of the family who have watched them.

The only thing I think has not yet been included is exactly which episode was the last one watched in each of the incomplete Series.  That will simply be done by typing in the number of the last watched episode in the coloured cell of the correct series, and then can easily be changed each time.  Some of that info will come from the little notebook before I scrap the used pages and keep the rest of the notebook for something else and for some of them I will have to guess roughly and look at some episodes to see what I remember and don't remember.


Next job was to make out the Overhaul List for the Office and from there decide on who would take on the different jobs and how long we might need for each one.

Of course I used my Pocket Lists App again for this one.



I am quite sure that more jobs will surface and have to be added to the list but then that is one of the great things about this app it is so easy to add in new tasks, edit tasks or delete tasks or even rename the lists and that is something that is not always the easiest to do in some apps.


Do you remember from my Not the Office!! Post just how bad the 2 bookcases with the Dvds were because they had so much else piled on top and in front of the Dvds and the Dvds were all mixed up?

Well if not here is a reminder



Now those two bookcases look like this



I am so pleased with them but Fred is not so pleased because some of the things I moved away have to be sorted out by him!!!

Now of course the inventory of these two bookcases has been made so much easier as well so a good few days work overall and I am very happy with the way things are going around here.

Do you have as many Dvds to keep in order?

Have you made a list of your collection in an app or spreadsheet?




Linking up with
METMORPHIS MONDAY

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

I was going to miss the Butterflies - A Dose of Encouragement 12

When we lived in Belgium there was a strange type of bush that grew up high in the summertime at the front of our house.

Because we were renting the house the owner was responsible for the borders, shrubs and trees and all we had to do was cut the grass.

So we never bothered to find out what type of bush this was.


One day in July 2009
Fred and I were sitting in the house on our own when I saw a butterfly go past the front window.  Then just a few mins later I saw another one and then another and another.  I remarked to Fred that I had seen four of them and thought that was unusual.

Then when I saw another I walked over to the window to have a look to see if it was simply the same butterfly flying past different times or had we got a few hovering around.

You can imagine my surprise when I saw not one, not 5 but loads of butterflies all the same type sitting on that strange bush.  I called to Fred and we both opened the window and stepped out onto the balcony/veranda that stretched the length of the house.  We were able to stand there and see the butterflies close up and we counted 34 butterflies on that bush at the same time.

Fred went and got his camera and spent some time taking pictures of this awesome sight.














We stood for about 30 mins watching the butterflies as they fed on this bush, parts of which were showing the effects already.

We just stood and watched in amazement, not able to tear ourselves away from this beautiful sight.

This was a day we will never forget, a unique day a quiet but awe inspiring day.

14 months later and we were in the throes of doing the inventory of our belongings in this house and organising to buy a house back in Northern Ireland.  The time had come to leave Belgium.

We had been back on a few different trips looking for a house and had fallen in love with one which had a lovely kitchen and Sun Room and nice bathrooms, almost the opposite to this one in Belgium.

At different times I would say about what I would miss about the house in Belgium but there were a lot of things I wouldn't miss.

One of the things I would miss was the fact that our house was in a lovely location enabling us to drive past the Tervuren Roundabout most days and that was a sight that put a smile on my face with it's beautiful fountain.

Another thing I was going to miss was the butterfly bush as I continued to call it even though by this time I had looked it up on Google and found out it was really called a "Buddlea".  I knew I was going to miss seeing the butterflies gathering there even though mostly we only saw a few at a time.  I have always loved butterflies and like things that are decorated with butterflies.

Along with all the friends we had made I knew that certain little things had made our 6 years in Belgium very happy and special to us and this simple bush was one of them.

Well in December of 2010 we left Belgium covered in snow and could hardly see what was left of the Buddlea bush which had been pruned back excessively and was practically hidden by the bush in front of it




















We moved to Northern Ireland also covered in snow and were very busy moving in the week leading up to Christmas.       The New year passed by and quite a few months also as we continued to get settled in.

Then one day we realised that a bush in our new front garden which had been rather scrawny looking when we arrived was now growing up tall, then a while later it started to flower and you can image our surprise and delight to discover that we had a Butterfly Bush at our new home.

We had even taken a family picture in front of the bush a few days after moving in.




















Now we have never had 34 butterflies on this bush in Northern Ireland but in the past few summers we have regularly seen 3 or 4 at a time.  Maybe someday they will all come but because of our open location at the top of a hill we may never get a mass of butterflies like we did that day in Tervuren.

So thank you God that I don't have to say  "I miss the butterflies".




Who can say that God doesn't care about how we feel when we see that he gave us another Butterfly bush in our new home!



Monday, 17 March 2014

Wee Green Things for March 17th


Today I am guest blogging for Shawnna at 

                       Small Talk Mama's Blog.


 I'm considering what St. Patrick's Day was like when we lived in America, Belgium and at home in Northern Ireland so why not hop over and see my post there.




While I was writing the guest post my husband suggested I add my own St. Patrick's day recipe but really he was just thinking of his favourite "wee green things" which is his name for the Peppermint Squares I make for him.



I have to admit they are so yummy that they are quite addictive even for me and I am not usually keen on mint.  


So I decided to put the recipe here just in case anyone else likes "wee green things".





















This recipe originally came to me from Fred's Mum but the problem was my mum-in-law never measured things out accurately (you know a handful of this and a scoop of that) so I had to do that part of it myself and I think I got it perfected after a couple of years into our marriage.  (Even if it is a mixture between UK & US measurements.)


So I think it can have the 



I really should have made up a St. Patrick's Day name for them  -  maybe you can suggest one?



Head on over to see my post at Shawnna's Blog HERE