Wednesday

Packing & Preparation for South Korea - Travel Preparation



Well we leave tomorrow so I had better be ready by now.


Last hotel bookings only done yesterday, we really leave it to the last minute in this family.








Hoping hotels are all ok, hard to tell from TripAdvisor etc. and Korean Sites, but our daughter has gone to the hotel near her and says she thinks its lovely so she booked us there for that part of the stay.



I love the initial preparation,
  • the making of lists, 
  • thinking what needs to be done before I go, 
  • clearing my calendar for while I'm away, 
  • making an itinerary, 
  • deciding on the schedule of all the preparation,
  • sorting my ongoing todo lists so that things are not due to be done while I'm away, 

I like to use packing lists and have downloaded a few different ones like this one 





and they can be so pretty and well laid out but often they are very Americanized whereas I am from the UK so I when I write pants I am referring to underwear and not to my trousers.



So I start with one of these lovely lists and then end up making my own




Also I like to detail which tops I'm planning to pack and which trousers and which swimsuits and not just write the number of them so in the end I usually ended up by resorting to my own hand written lists or a spreadsheet on the computer but now I love to use my iPad for most things and so I have tried packing apps as well and yet again I found them not just right for me.








In the end I went back to one of my favourite apps - one I use daily and used it for my packing needs for South Korea.  


The Things App by Cultured Code is my go to app for daily todos and now for lists too and it is on my iPad.



My todo lists for before and after trips are on the Things App too.

     Scheduling all the trip preparation is on the Things app too. 

          My ongoing todo lists are on the Things app too.


               AND   My calendar is on the iPad.


So in the end everything I need is on my iPad except for the itinerary for the trip.



Travel Packing and Preparation - the need to be organised


The itinerary is so involved with having to cope with 4 people travelling at different times and from different airports, then all the hotels we will be in and the different areas with a little 4 day trip for Fred & I over to Hong Kong from Seoul and of course all the times we are meeting up with friends.


I like colour coding and also prefer to have ALL details on my itinerary and then as well as that I have a labelling system for the things we need at various places and events.  (Hence the * column.)


This is what my itinerary ended up looking like






and that was just the first page of 3!




I don't like
  • the actual packing, 
  • preparation of clothes and items for packing,
  • the booking of flights and hotels 
                                 (thankfully the last one here is mostly done by my husband).


This time with a holiday to South Korea (2 locations within the country) and a trip to Hong Kong incorporated into it and then the boys coming to join us later my poor husband has to book 5 return flights & 5 single flights and this was just very taxing for him.

We are planning to meet up with 2 South Korean friends who we originally met in Belgium and spend some time with them in Seoul as well as going to Gangneung in the northeast to see places and people that our daughter is constantly telling us about so tying it all together was taking some effort.






So I said I would look after the hotels but they couldn't be booked until we knew exactly where we would be each day and the Hong Kong flights were only just done a couple of days ago so hotels just got booked yesterday.


Vaccinations are all done, easy for the boys as they were up to date with everything they needed as they have been to different African countries within the last 10 years, but not so easy for us as it took two separate trips to the health centre because we didn't have 3 arms each.

So at least these are now checked off the list too.





           
Plenty still to be done today though.


Itinerary in brief is:

  • Belfast to London tomorrow
  • London to Seoul tomorrow overnight to Friday morning
  • Friday, Saturday, Sunday in Seoul with Linda and our friend Sharon who is going to take us shopping!!
  • Seoul to Hong Kong on Monday
  • Sightseeing just me and Fred in Hong Kong Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
  • Hong Kong to Seoul on Friday 2nd Aug and Linda joins us then again
  • Jonathan & Daniel arrive in Seoul on Saturday 3rd
  • Sunday 4th and Monday 5th  in Seoul with our friend Sharon who is going to take us sightseeing this time and our other friend Park is coming to meet up with us too
  • Tuesday 6th we travel to Gangneung in the North East where Linda is living 
  • Wednesday to Sunday in Gangneung sightseeing and meeting Linda's new friends
  • Sunday night travel back to Seoul
  • Monday 12th Aug Seoul to London and on to Belfast









So thankful that we can all get together for this new Black family Experience.


Right better go and pack now and collect the foreign currency which the bank have finally got for us.  (That's another story of one of those things which shouldn't happen but do happen and are so infuriating.)






           Getting very excited now!!!!


You can find the next post on South Korea HERE 


Tuesday

The Panther - Book Review


My brother-in-law got me hooked on Nelson DeMille books.






Thankfully he had read a few of them before he started me on them so he gave them to me in order (at least the John Corey ones) and being the methodical person that I am that is exactly how I like to read a series.

Then we got my husband on to them and at the moment he is still reading "The Panther" on his kindle and I have just finished so thought I would tell you about it here.


The Panther


Description


It's one of the most dangerous and volatile countries in the world: Yemen. A Middle Eastern hotbed of corruption and insurgency and the perfect training ground for Islamic terrorists.
When FBI agents John Corey and Kate Mayfield are assigned to overseas posts in Sana'a, Yemen's capital city, they are tasked with hunting down the high-ranking Al Qaeda operative responsible for the USS Cole bombing. This man, known as The Panther, is wanted for terrorist acts and multiple murders and the US government is determined to bring him down, no matter the cost.
As latecomers to a deadly game, John and Kate don't know the rules, the players or the score. What they do know is that there is more to their assignment than meets the eye - and that the hunters are about to become the hunted.




My Thoughts



Firstly  -  it is full of one liners.

I missed those in "The Lion" and my brother-in-law & I decided the reason was that John Corey's wife was not in as much of that book as she had been in others so there wasn't the same opportunity for DeMille to write them.

Not only is Kate in the whole book this time but there are some other characters constantly there too and then they are also the objects of Corey's witty remarks.


Secondly  -  Nelson DeMille makes a story about the middle east actually interesting.

I have read some books set in that part of the world before in bookclubs and have never found them to be the type to entice me to read more but this was different. 








Thirdly  -  it is not as gory as "The Lion" which made it a nicer read for me.

I had been rather disappointed in "The Lion" which I found a bit boring, long and incorporating too much personal violence, but all I can say is that Nelson DeMille is back on form with this latest John Corey book "The Panther" - thank goodness.



DeMille's book is well researched and is written with a lot of detail but not too much to end up being boring.







As with his other John Corey books it is witty and full of action so a good choice of book for the man in your life but also a book us ladies can enjoy if we like mysteries and detectives.

So I really enjoyed it and I have a sneaking suspicion that there may be a new character reappearing in a future book, and yes there has to be another John Corey book.  There just has to be.

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



Book Review - The Panther by Nelson DeMille


Here is a link to a list of Nelson DeMille's novels on Amazon

Books by Nelson DeMille


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






Here are some more Book Reviews at Sandra's Ark 



Wednesday

I am Petite! Who Cares? - A Dose of Encouragement


Yes. I am Petite!


That does not mean I take size 10 (UK) or below and it maddens me when people use petite in this way.


I am petite because I am smaller than 5' 3".








In fact I am not quite 5' 1"



I do need clothes that are the right length and in the right proportion but it can be very hard to find these even in the small sizes but much harder in sizes over 12. Then we also have to put up with a more old-fashioned look for the petites in those sizes.


When we lived in America I found a lovely shop called "Petite Sophisticate" and I just adored the clothes from there. But there was another problem and that is: Why should we have to pay more money for items that actually have less material in them than "normal" items?








My husband is almost 6' tall so there is a bit of a difference between the two of us. Even so when we had our first son I prayed that he would not be short like me but taller like his dad. 2 years later we had another son and I prayed that he would be tall as well. 3 years after that we had our daughter and I prayed that she would not take after me.



God answered my prayers and our oldest boy is almost as tall as his dad, the second boy is taller than his dad at around 6' 3" (sometimes we joke that I prayed too hard for him) and our daughter is about 5 inches taller than me. My sister used to joke that I needed a stepladder to kiss Fred (my husband) but that's not really a joke when it comes to Daniel (son no.2) and he normally ends up with a kiss on the neck instead of on the cheek.






So I was back to the petite clothing problem when my son Daniel was getting married and I needed an outfit.



I really needed a petite outfit.



Another thing that often goes hand in hand with someone being petite is the attitude of others towards them.


We get lots of remarks about our height.


"Gosh you are small!"

I know I am, do they think they are the first to have noticed?


"You'd better stand in front for the photo or you won't be seen."

I know I have to stand in front, do they think this has never happened to me before?


I normally look at my husband Fred in one of these "height challenged" moments and he smiles just the right way to show he has noticed and he knows how I feel. If he's near enough there will be the squeeze of my hand or a wee stroke on my neck.
Fred can do something just between us that makes me feel cared for in situations where others don't take time to think how I might feel.



Often people don't stop to think how we feel.




So looking for a special outfit is not an excitement for me but can be a dread because of the lack of choice and the way I may be treated.


I know I can't dwell on the fact that others aren't thoughtful or considerate all the time and I know that there are probably times when I don't stop and think to be as considerate as I possibly can.


There is only one person who cares about us all enough to know how we feel and what we need and that is the God.


When I see my husband being so thoughtful and understanding of what hurts me then I see something of the example of Christ and this is the way it is in a marriage. The husband is to love his wife just as Christ loves the church and this means being protected, provided for and cared for giving us security in our relationship.


So obviously when we see a good example of this in a marriage it helps us to remember the security we have in Christ even when we tend to temporarily forget His promises.








Of course this is another good reason to read some of the Word of God each day to be constantly reminded of how much Christ cares for us, enough to die in our place when we did not deserve His love.


Doesn't that make us feel cared for, loved and protected?


Doesn't that make us want to be part of His family?


Doesn't that lift us when others put us down?


Doesn't that bring us joy?




People don't stop to think how we feel. Who Cares?



Saw this riddle for the word PETITE
and I just wish it were true 

but it makes me smile anyway.






Well what about that outfit I had to get for Daniel's Wedding?

You can read all about that at What Will I Wear?

and

Here are some other  Doses of Encouragement






Tuesday

The Presence - Book Review


This was the first book I ever read by Davis Bunn and I was so impressed by it that I have read most of his books to date.







The Presence



Description


A Small-Town Lawyer. Big-City Corruption. Can One Person Truly Make a Difference? T. J. Case, a North Carolina lawyer and politician, takes a stand of integrity that costs him his election. As he considers his future, a morning of quiet reflection is transformed into a remarkable summons that propels him into the middle of Washington politics. And accompanying this commission is an extraordinary sense of divine direction to help reshape twisted lives and challenge corrupt systems. The cause that T. J. Case represents meets with resistance at the highest levels. In a dramatic clash against a shadowy network of organized evil, The Presence emerges as the prevailing power. But obedience demands sacrifice….










My Thoughts


The summary above does not give even a hint of the true impact this book can have on the reader.

I remember feeling changed when I had finished it and the sense of the presence of God was heavy on me.
I had not read a novel like this before and have not read one since.

Set in Washington and seemingly a political type story line would not have attracted me towards this book as I would not normally be interested in politics except in TV dramas like The West Wing.  However this was a story about the heart of a person and how he was led by God.  I loved seeing how even in places where we tend to presume very little Christian influence gets through, there is always God's way.

As I said at the start it was the first book by Davis Bunn that I read and it was many years ago but I will never forget it and the true test of how good a book is, will always be - will I read many more by this author?

 The answer here was yes, yes, yes!

 In the years since I have read most of his books and introduced my family to them as well.




 Here is a link to a list of other novels by Davis Bunn on Amazon
Books by Davis Bunn


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






It definitely deserves a place on my bookshelf,  what about yours?



Here are some more Book Reviews at Sandra's Ark








The Blue Bottle Club - Book Review


This is my first Book Review on the Blog and that just might give you a clue about how much I like this book.








The Blue Bottle Club

If interested in this book just click on the picture of the book or the title to find out more.



Description


In the wake of the depression of 1929, four friends gather in a cold, dusty attic on Christmas Day to make a solemn pact.
Our dreams for the future, they whisper, as they place tiny pieces of paper holding their life wishes into the blue, cabin-shaped bottle.
Letitia dreams of marriage and children>
Mary hopes to be a painter.
Eleanor aspires to help those in need as a social worker.
Adora longs to be a Broadway actress.


Four girls, four dreams, and four futures sealed in a cobalt blue bottle.


Sixty-five years later, local news reporter Brendan Delaney stumbles upon the bottle, discovering the most meaningful story of her career and possibly the meaning missing from her own life.



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








My Thoughts

I loved this book the first and second times I read it and it is one of the first books I recommend to other female friends.  My daughter also loved it.  


I have bought and read most of the books written by Penelope Stokes now and even bought her book  The Complete Guide to Writing and Selling the Christian Novel, which my daughter has since commandeered. 

Penelope Stokes has a gift of writing to involve the reader in the feelings and actions of the story and does not need to bring in sensationalism to do this.  


A group of girls who have dreams for the future and then a group of women who have matured and have lived a life .........  

No Spoilers Allowed!!

It is an uplifting & encouraging book.

One of those books that you don't forget the emotion or message it brings.



Such a popular book there have been several prints and different covers for this novel.







Below is a link to a list of some of her other books.

Books by Penelope Stokes


Including 








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







Here are some more Book Reviews at Sandra's Ark











Wednesday

Tervuren Fountain - A Dose of Encouragement


We used to live in a country called Belgium, between France and Germany.


The house we chose there was in a nice village which was close to a former Royal Palace.





On the way to the house we could see that workmen were doing something at the large roundabout which sat in front of the palace.

Later someone told us that the roundabout was being changed from just having flowers on it to have a large sculpture on it, but people didn't know exactly what it was going to be like.






I like flowers on roundabouts and also while we had been driving around Belgium we had seen other large horrible looking sculptures on roundabouts so I was rather worried about what we were going to end up with here. You see we were going to be driving round this roundabout almost every time we would go out and come home again.


As the work went on there was a large screen around it so we could not see what was there, then one day as we drove past we could see the top of something and it looked strange and Green.
We heard rumours that there was going to be an animal in the sculpture so then the question was what animal would there be?


Then we heard there was going to be more than one animal?

Eventually we heard that the unveiling of the sculpture was going to be on a certain day in the early evening. We thought it a bit strange because we knew at that time of the year it would already be getting dark at that time. However lots of people gathered together that evening to see what had become of the roundabout.

You can imagine our surprise and delight when suddenly lights came on behind the screens and then as the screens were removed water flowed up into the air, not just one spray of water but several sprays of water.

The roundabout was now a fountain; but not just an ordinary fountain it was an animal fountain.







Can you guess what animals there were? 



                           What the animals were doing? 



                                                     And where the water was coming from?






Well isn't that a lovely thing to see when you are driving out from home each day?


Can you imagine how beautiful it was when we would come home in the evenings with the fountain flowing and the lights on?


In the Bible it tells us that Jesus is like a fountain.

Jesus says He has living water for everyone who is thirsty.

Jesus can satisfy all the needs we have. 

He has everything we need to live the life God wants us to live.


The Bible also tells us that just like the fountain has water bubbling up through it and out of it we can have God's joy bubbling up and out of us. God's joy is real, true, everlasting joy which will be in our lives when we ask Jesus to be our Saviour. This will be real true joy because it will be from God, through Jesus and nothing is more real or true or lasts forever without Jesus.

The water also reminds us of the way Jesus will wash our hearts clean when we ask Him to be our Saviour.






I will always be thankful that God placed us in a beautiful village with this beautiful fountain to look at and put a smile on my face.



                  Isn't God good to us?


Here are some other  Doses of Encouragement






14 inches of Snow!!! - A Dose of Encouragement


Tomorrow is the 14th March and 20 years ago today on 14th March 1993 we awoke to 14 inches of snow at our front door. 

 



Needless to say this was not in Northern Ireland, nor in Belgium but in the lovely village of Hockessin in the state of 

Delaware, USA.



The kids were young then and Fred and I were full of energy then too so as Fred dug down into the hard packed snow on the driveway and cut it away in blocks the kids and I used them to make an igloo on the front lawn.


Of course we could not form it completely to curve it in so it was an open-top igloo.








Then our neighbours (another couple from Northern Ireland) came out and we all went round to the back of our houses to enjoy sledding down the slope of our gardens which was a good distance because none of the houses had boundary fences or hedges or walls.  In fact our home garden just merged into the woods behind our neighbourhood or estate (as we call it in the UK).



We just got on the sleds and slid until we came to a natural stop, or an unnatural one where we ended up across the side cul-de-sac and up to the front door of another house (but that was mainly Fred).







That is one of the greatest memories we have of winter in Delaware.


Well last Saturday here in Banbridge, NI we had some snow and even though it made us think back to all those years ago, we could not even make a snowball let along an igloo in our front garden here.



Making lasting family memories is good for children.



Memories are great, especially when they make us smile or laugh, and they are something special that we have to share together. 


However we need to have spent time together to form these memories and these days I often look at the kids in church and everywhere else and wonder what memories they are building up with their families for the future while they are so engrossed in all these electronic games and gadgets. 









I am thankful to God for all the places we have been and all the experiences we have had as a family over the years but I'm also grateful for the fact that we became Christians before we got married and had our children so that God was a part of our marriage and family life together because that makes such a difference.


Are there any children in your neighbourhood or church who do not have the privilege of growing up in a Christian family?

Can we not find some ways of making a difference for Jesus in the lives of these children?



Here are some other  Doses of Encouragement











The Devil and Our Minds - A Dose of Encouragement


There is a passage in the Bible about someone very strange.

See Mark ch 5 v 1-17 






This passage tells us about the encounter the man called legion had with Jesus.



Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshipped Him. And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.”For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!” Then He asked him, “What is your name?”And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” 10 Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country.11 Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. 12 So all the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.” 13 And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.14 So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. 15 Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. 16 And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. 17 Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region.


Below are some questions I asked the kids in our church one Sunday morning.


I'd like to ask you the same questions:

  • What was his name?
  • Where did he live?
  • What did he do?
  • Who loved him?
  • Who didn't love him?


When we think on these questions we get a picture of the circumstances of this man's life. Not a life we would like to have.  

He was tormented within and many people today are also tormented within, not perhaps in the same way as this man but still tormented within feeling unloved, lonely, no self-worth.






The answer to the last question is very important.

Satan doesn't love any of us. 


Satan wants us to
  • Feel unloved
  • Be lonely
  • Hurt others
  • Hurt ourselves
  • Hate God
  • Blame God for everything that happens
  • Or at the very least just not think about God



Satan didn't solve any of Legion's problems because he didn't care about Legion.



Jesus did care about Legion and deliberately went to help him.









Above we can see just a few of the titles or names that the Lord Jesus has.  

In this passage of Scripture we are not told the names of the many demons that were trying to kill this man because their names do not matter.

 It is the Lord who is in control over all and only His titles matter.



Satan wanted to destroy Legion's mind

And he wants to destroy our minds too.


Satan wants to destroy our minds.


Jesus loved Legion.

And He loves us too.

Legion became like a new person, a new creation, when he met Jesus, and so can we when we turn our backs on Satan and don't listen to him and instead turn to Jesus and let him be the Lord of our lives.



If you enjoyed reading this post you may enjoy some of my other 

Devotional or Bible Study Type Posts

or








I'm thankful that Jesus loves me and is my Lord.


Do you know that Jesus loves you too?