Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Murder on the Orient Express - Book Review

Disclaimer:
There is an affiliate link on this blogpost.



I am reading through the novels of Agatha Christie in the order in which they were written and writing a review on each one.








Murder on the Orient Express 



1934



Description



Agatha Christie’s most famous murder mystery.
Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train is surprisingly full for the time of the year, but by the morning it is one passenger fewer. An American tycoon lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside.
Isolated and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must identify the murderer – in case he or she decides to strike again.






My Thoughts


This is the 19th book by Agatha Christie and the 9th Poirot Mystery

One of the best known of her mysteries and perhaps even the best known especially because it had already had 3 TV/Movie adaptations (with 3 different actors playing Hercule Poirot) before they brought out the latest one with Kenneth Brannagh.

It can't be easy to confine your story to one location and also the confines of a train.

Yes you have the characters and the location but having them all in such close proximity must have added constraints to the setting of clues and the movement of the characters just showing how good our famous author is at her craft.

Is there anyone left who does not know the perpetrator of this crime?
This is the second most well-known of Miss Christie's books (first being "And Then There Were None"

Many people who haven't even read the book or seen any of the adaptations already know the outcome of this story but if you do not then you definitely should read it as it is a very well-written book and brings out compassion and hatred together.

I always thought it was so famous that everyone must know but more recently there was a new adaptation of the story and I had to realise that there is a different generation of people who are being introduced to Agatha Christie's works just now.  I suppose that is the joy of books that they can go on for generations being enjoyed by more and more people.

If you do know the outcome and have not read it you still should to see how she links everything together.




 Here is a link to a list of her novels on Amazon
Books by Agatha Christie


If thinking of reading this book in the future why not pin this pic to go back to later.

















Disclaimer:
If buying through Amazon via the link above I get a little commission but that does not mean any extra expense to you.





Monday, 6 June 2016

Which Service at Church? - Coffee & Conversation


Sometimes as Christians we only want to go to Worship Services but neglect the Prayer Meetings.

Sometimes as Christians we only want to go to Church on Sundays and forget about our fellow congregants the rest of the week.


Sometimes we want to do only bible studies by specific people instead of looking to God for what we should study and get the best help we can for that Bible passage or topic.

Sometimes we want to go to the fun things at church but never want to help in the church community work.

Sometimes we want to simply go to church events and not actually think of how we can help those and other events take place.

Sometimes we want to be seen to be doing things in the church service but we couldn't be bothered to help behind the scenes.


One Church Service but not another?

Sometimes we are happy to have the Gospel preached but not willing to invite others in to church to hear that Good News.

Sometimes we want to know that our church is reaching out to tell others of the love of God and the rescue there is from our sin through Jesus but we neglect to do our part in God's work.


We pick and choose what we do to suit ourselves but what about the needs of the church and the people of the community around us?








Tuesday, 17 May 2016

The Hound of Death - Book Review

Disclaimer:
There is an affiliate link on this blogpost.


I am reading through the novels of Agatha Christie in the order in which they were written and writing a review on each one.








The Hound of Death 



1933



Description



A collection of macabre mysteries, including the superlative short story Witness for the Prosecution…
Twelve unexplained phenomena with no apparent earthly explanation…
A dog-shaped gunpowder mark; an omen from ‘the other side’; a haunted house; a chilling seance; a case of split personalities; a recurring nightmare; an eerie wireless message; an elderly lady’s hold over a young man; a disembodied cry of ‘murder’; a young man’s sudden amnesia; a levitation experience; a mysterious SOS.





My Thoughts



This is the 18th book by Agatha Christie and the 2nd Stand Alone Mystery

In actual fact it is a book of 12 short stories with no signs of any of her usual or seldom used detectives.

It is I think my least favourite of Agatha Christie books even though it contains the first writing of "Witness for the Prosecution" as a short story and later it became famous as a play.

Not entirely a group of detective stories but more stories of the mind or supernatural stories and a great deal of darkness contained therein.

The one I always remember the best is the one about the blue jar and it is more a con story than anything else, using the art of suggestion - this is a bit of a spoiler but not too much.

So if you are not a great Christie fan who wants to read all her books then this is one you may want to leave out unless you are intrigued by things of the mind.




 Here is a link to a list of her novels on Amazon
Books by Agatha Christie



If thinking of reading this book in the future why not pin this pic to go back to later.















Disclaimer:
If buying through Amazon via the link above I get a little commission but that does not mean any extra expense to you.


Monday, 2 May 2016

We all love Free Stuff which is Good Stuff - Coffee & Conversation

Sometimes we don't realise how good something we have is.

That is exactly what happened to me a couple of years ago.



I went to the Churches Resources Exhibition in Belfast and came home with a plastic bag full of leaflets and other bits and pieces. A few days later I went through the contents of the bag quickly, mostly saying to myself that I would read through the leaflets properly when I had more time and only concentrate on the things I had particularly asked for or lifted from the stands right now.

Well the other leaflets just got put in a pile and a long time later I eventually decided to go through them mainly to throw them out because I was tired of seeing the pile on my desk in the study.

Imagine my surprise when I read about BES.    

Bible Educational Services


This is a free resource, yes FREE and I was missing out.




How was I missing out?

Because when I had been given the info. I had not properly realised what I was being given.

 At an event like this one you get so used to everything being expensive and everybody trying to persuade you that their product is the best that you can so easily click off and toss the name or idea into the back of your mind, and the leaflet into your bag to be forgotten about with lots of others.

I was annoyed at myself because I had not taken more of an interest at the time, and that I had been so unorganised that I hadn't sorted out and read everything much sooner after I got home.

Needless to say I spent some time on their website and downloaded some items which will help with the upcoming topics in our Sunday School Curriculum in the near future and some which I was able to make good use of almost immediately. Then in a few months time I will have to look into it again and see how we might benefit from it for the next year.

So go Check out the FREE Bible Lessons at BES






And let's tell others


We all love Free Stuff which is Good Stuff!







Sunday, 24 April 2016

Pondering the Psalms - Psalm 107

Each Sunday I choose a Psalm and write down some brief thoughts on it.


Today I'm looking at Psalm 107 



This Psalm falls into four parts:


V. 1-3
Thanksgiving to God


V. 4-32
We see a pattern repeated four times

  • The Ungodly Man
  • Turning to God & God's Intervention
  • Following God's Way
  • Goodness of God


V. 33-38
God's Good Hand on Nature
God's Good Hand on Man


V. 39-43
God's Justice & Kindness


This Psalm could be summed up simply by verse 1




Though people do not understand or see God's Hand in this world and in their lives that does not change the fact that He is always there in the world and in our lives 
and we would be wise to accept and acknowledge that.

Then we would understand his love and kindness and let Him change our lives.




Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Lord Edgeware Dies - Book Review

Disclaimer:
There is an affiliate link on this blogpost.



I am reading through the novels of Agatha Christie in the order in which they were written and writing a review on each one.








Lord Edgeware Dies 



1933



Description


Agatha Christie’s famous murder mystery, reissued with a striking cover designed to appeal to the latest generation of Agatha Christie fans and book lovers.
Poirot had been present when Jane bragged of her plan to ‘get rid of’ her estranged husband. Now the monstrous man was dead. And yet the great Belgian detective couldn’t help feeling that he was being taken for a ride.
After all, how could Jane have stabbed Lord Edgware to death in his library at exactly the same time she was seen dining with friends? And what could be her motive now that the aristocrat had finally granted her a divorce?








My Thoughts



This is the 17th book by Agatha Christie and the 8th Poirot Mystery.

One that once read should not be forgotten because of the uniqueness of the solution but yet I had forgotten it in full from my previous reading of it and hence really enjoyed it again.   

Looks like an unsolvable mystery: how can someone be in two places at the same time?  Are witnesses mistaken, or which witness/witnesses are mistaken?  But when the behind the scenes facts are known it seems to be such a simplistic but intricate plan by a clever murderer.

I have to admit it is hard to talk about this one without giving too much away.

One of the best known of Christie's books and certainly deserves to the up there in the top 10.



If you would like to know more about this book then click on the title or picture above.


 Here is a link to a list of her novels on Amazon
Books by Agatha Christie


If thinking of reading this book in the future why not pin this pic to go back to later.

















Disclaimer:
If buying through Amazon via the link above I get a little commission but that does not mean any extra expense to you.



Wednesday, 13 April 2016

The Right or Wrong Way? - A Dose of Encouragement


Previously I had written about Reading One Verse a Day and writing down my immediate thoughts on it and I posted them on facebook for a month.

This had stemmed from me trying to form a new habit where I would read a verse of the bible before I would read my emails each morning.

Well they say if you do something every day for a month you will form a new habit but I am proof that unfortunately

it is just not true.

It is easier to skim through emails while still half asleep than to sit and take in some Words of Scripture.

I'm being honest here.
I need to sip my coffee first thing in the morning and gradually come round because I am not a jump out of bed and be bustling with energy type of person.
I'm more the don't talk to me or ask me to make any decisions until I've had my coffee.

However since this experiment I have been reading a few verses at a time and seeing a benefit from that which I didn't really see before.  I am seeing that even one verse read (no matter how quickly) can leave a thought, idea, or even just one word that may simmer inside and come to fruition later.



I was always more the "read at least a proper paragraph" person because I always felt like everything should be read in context.

Now I'm more "yes I need my context to fully understand" but I also sometimes need a sentence or a word to jar into my subconscious and edge into my thoughts later in the day"


So I was coming to the realisation that there is no right or wrong way to read your bible.

 The most important thing was to read it.


So - What about those times when we come to a passage that we feel we know so well?

  • Do we skip it?
  • Do we skim over it?

    Photo from Graphic Stock


  • Do we read it and let our minds wander as we do so?
  • Do we read it quickly and think we know what is there and we have already got the relevance of it in the past?
  • Do we read it and accept that it is relevant for us TODAY not just because it is part of God's Word but because it is the part He has brought us to TODAY?





I love to read but as time goes by I find that I am skim reading more and more and later I cannot fully explain what I have been reading because as I skim read I am not getting the full details of the subject matter and also not taking the time to let the information register in my brain.

I need to get back to reading more slowly and reading every word.


So I was coming back to the realisation that there is a right and wrong way to read your bible.

 The wrong way is to skim through it.


Is there a Right Way or Wrong Way to Read your Bible?


God's Word is important for my everyday life and I want to encourage you that it is important for your everyday life as well.

Let's get back to actually reading it and absorbing it instead of skimming it.





Thursday, 7 April 2016

Twinkl, Twinkl - How Good are you?

You have all heard of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" but today I want to talk about another
"Twinkl" which is also a star.


No I haven't spelt it wrongly.

It is Twinkl.

But what is it?  you ask.

Well before I tell you exactly what it is, what I use it for, and what a great resource you will find this to be;  I want to explain that I heard about this from my daughter-in-law and then met someone who works for this website in a Facebook blogging group we are both members of.  Due to all this I was offered a year's free subscription membership to the website in return for an honest review of the site.


So let's look at just what Twinkl really is:


Well it is a website full of educational resources made by many different people.  Some items are free to download and some require a subscription membership fee.

There is also the facility to make your own resources on their site and to offer your own resources for use there.

This is how they describe their site:

Screenshot of part of the Twinkl Homepage


My daughter-in-law is a Primary (Elementary for our US friends) School Teacher and her school has a subscription to the Twinkl website.

She uses it for  Posters,  Banners,  Games,  Worksheets  and especially loves it for Themes throughout the school year.


When I heard of it I thought of how I love to look at any types of resources with templates, worksheets, pictures etc. because they just might have something to suit some of the things I am involved in but I wasn't a Primary School teacher in fact I wasn't even a Mathematics Teacher any more.

However I have been involved in doing Kids Sunday School Curriculums in 3 different churches and I can always hope to find something to help me in that.

Then also I had just done a TESOL course and visuals would be very helpful in teaching basic English in a class we were setting up in our current church.


Although neither my daughter-in-law or myself have been involved in Homeschooling I know this would also be a great resource for all those Homeschooling parents around the world.


Now let's look at just how good Twinkl really is:


I'm going to show you some of the ways I have used resources from Twinkl for both of the things I mentioned above that I am involved in with our church.



Kids Work at Church

I'm always on the lookout for good pictures to illustrate items for the Kids Work and not just something for a Bible story.  We like to have posters to decorate the room,  attractive memory verse handouts,  attendance incentives,  nicely designed games and worksheets that the children will enjoy.

Twinkl also comes up with excellent resources that we can use.


They have PDFs to provide Flash Cards for bible Stories like the story of Easter





Printouts to make flip books




Pictures to illustrate stories that the children can colour in



          





Backgrounds for powerpoint presentations




Pictures for using as game cards




and  powerpoints of songs




Their illustrations are good, well-suited to children and very varied so you do not need to worry about everything looking the same and the children getting bored.



Teaching English as a Second Language

So far I have used some of their products for different teaching levels in almost all of my English classes and I especially like the variety of the many items like

          worksheets,
                      games,
                               posters,
                                         powerpoint presentations,  etc.



The first basic English lesson we taught was using the ipad to mirror to the TV screen and the subject was Food.

What better than the flashcards from Twinkl - they looked great on the ipad screen itself and also mirrored to the TV.



A few weeks later we tackled the topic of Colours and used Twinkle pictures in a powerpoint presentation.





A week or so later we were onto clothes for another powerpoint display




Then of course for using to teach the alphabet they have lots of cards etc. and when printing out you can make them the size to suit you for whatever project you want so you can have small cards like the size for playing a game of snap



or large cards for wall displays.




Instructions for games are also included in the PDFs you download




One of my favourite games to use is the Game of Concentration (matching game) and it is so easy to get resources for this in Twinkl


  



Another great game they offer in may different topics is Bingo




At the start pf each PDF you have a page which you do not print out but gives info on copyright so you always know how you are permitted to use the product.




Having had a long period of time to hunt through the website and see what resources I could use for specific topics I have been very pleased with the standard of the materials as well as the quantity.  I have also looked at other items that I would not need for my interests but which I know my daughter-in-law has used and would use for her school activities and I can definitely say I know why she loves this site.
                                                           
Have a look around the site  www.twinkl.co.uk  and join up for the free membership to try out some of the resources.


Disclaimer:
If you like the site and decide to take a free membership or a paid subscription membership I WILL NOT benefit in any way.