Tea and Poetry

Today’s Tea tidbit is a quote by Charles Dickens (from 365 Things Every Tea Lover Should Know):

“My dear, if you could give me a cup of tea to clear my muddle of a head I should               better understand your affairs.”

And today’s poem is by William Wordsworth:

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

I WANDERED lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once i saw a crowd,

A host of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

 

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way.

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance.

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

 

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed-and gazed-but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

 

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

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A Fun Convention!

Image result for the kingdom series by chuck black  Image result for the kingdom series by chuck black

I have instilled a love of reading in all three of our boys as I spent hours reading aloud to them, complete with different voices for each character, while homeschooling. There is nothing I enjoy more than seeing one of our boys excited about a book series and meeting an author.

Therefore, when our youngest son and I attended our local homeschool convention the first Friday and Saturday of  this month, one of the first booths we visited in the vendor hall was the booth of one of our youngest son’s favorite author, Chuck Black — author of “The Kingdom Series” and “The Knights of Arrethtrae Series”. Our son had already read the entire “Kingdom Series”, although he didn’t own all of the books.

He had taken the four books, two from each series, that he does own along to the conference with him to ask Mr. Black to sign them. Well, as a mom who loves to feed our sons’ love of reading, I love to buy them books. Therefore, we bought ALL of the books in both series that our son didn’t have, as well as the “Wars of the Realm” trilogy also written by Chuck Black (in other words, every book Chuck Black has written that our son didn’t have). I also purchased several other items related to the books, including the Arrethtrae Game.

It’s a lot of fun to take our son along to the homeschool conventions now that he’s old enough to take a real interest in what he likes to learn. I took him to hear one of the speakers talk about a history curriculum that she created; that I want our youngest son to do, and before she was finished speaking, he leaned over and whispered to me, “I can’t wait to study this stuff!”

We also went to a couple of talks by Mike Snavely of Mission Imperative. These talks captured and held our attention from start to finish. Mike is very personable and includes some humor and personal stories in his talks. We had visited his booth in the vendor hall and I had purchased five DVDs and a book about Dragons for our son. Then after hearing another of Mike’s talks, I returned to his booth and purchased his curriculum on Creation for our youngest, who LOVES Creation science.

We also saw a booth in the vendor hall that was selling a physical science curriculum that had some really cool projects for the student to build and supply a type of power to. Our youngest LOVES to build things — he’s obsessed with Legos, so we stopped to check out this stand. It turned out to be a great science curriculum that allows him to build some fun things and also, fill out paperwork and learn the scientific method. So, yes, we bought this too!

Now we can’t wait to start our new school year!

Tea and Poetry

I’ve decided it was time to find something to put back on my blog for Fridays, and since my poetry posts were fairly popular I  decided to try a new twist for poetry posts.

You see, I have a son who attends a school in South Carolina and we went down for his graduation over Mother’s Day weekend, and because he had plans to leave, soon after, to go to Uganda for the summer, we decided to take a few extra days and do a family vacation. Therefore, I checked online for things to do in the areas where we would be and found that Charleston, South Carolina is the home of the ONLY tea plantation in North America. So, being a tea drinker, I thought this would be a great place to visit, and it was — our whole family enjoyed it and we got to taste different flavors of both hot and cold teas and I bought lots of great tea related items in the gift shop.

One of the things I bought was this cute little book entitled “365 Things Every Tea Lover Should Know”. That’s how the idea for this new Friday post began, not to mention that our youngest son and I incorporated a “Tea and Poetry” time into our school days this year and our son loves them. Therefore, each Friday, I will do a Tea and Poetry post, where I will share a great tea tidbit as well as a poem. However, not all of the poems I will share will be written by me. I will sometimes include a poem I have written, other times it may be a poem our son has written. It may simply be a poem our son and I have read in our own Tea and Poetry time, or just a poem I particularly like from one of my poetry books.

I hope you will enjoy this new Friday post and will visit often. I will begin this Friday with the following tea tidbit (from 365 Things Every Tea Lover Should Know):

“Iced tea was invented at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair by an expatriate Englishman      named Richard Blechynden. His hot tea wasn’t selling so he poured it over ice and had      an instant success.”

And here is a poem by Jewel Kilcher:

Sometimes

Sometimes

I feel

my heart

fall

to vague depths

between

words there

are such

spaces that

I can’t help

but feel

My Heart

fall

between

the pregnant pause

of all you will

not say

and all

I can

not ask

Dare from Deep Within by D. L. Sleiman

Dare from Deep Within by D. L. Sleiman is the sequel to Dance from Deep Within which I read some time ago.

Dance from Deep Within is the story of three young women in the same college, who work together on a class project. The three women are quite different and come from different backgrounds: a white American girl who has been raised in a Christian home, a biracial young woman who has been raised by parents from the “hippy” generation who are free thinkers, and a Muslim woman whose parents have given her permission to attend college to earn an engineering degree, something way out of the norm for the Muslim culture.

Dance from Deep Within captured my attention from the first page and I was intrigued with the three young women. Their class project led them in a Dance with the Spirit and started them thinking and searching their hearts and minds. I enjoyed following their journey so much and by the end of the story, I felt like these three young women were friends of mine. I was disappointed when I found that not everything was completely wrapped up at the end of the book and that there was to be a sequel that wasn’t yet available.

So, when Dare from Deep Within became available in November, 2017, I couldn’t wait to get a copy! It took a while for me to get my copy and to have the time to read it, but I finished reading it last night. This book added two more young women and a few men to the original three women from the first book. One of the additional young women was the sister to the white American Christian girl from the first book and the other was a young Muslim woman, a close friend of the young Muslim woman from the first book. However, the situation for this new Muslim character was quite different from the first one and her friends were all concerned for her safety.

In Dare from Deep Within, all of the young women are still wrestling with their spiritual beliefs while still encouraging one another and building a strong bond of friendship between them. I did feel like this book had a slow start compared to the first one and I struggled to keep reading at first because it didn’t capture my interest as well. I also felt that  Ms. Sleiman had introduced one of the characters early in the book but kept her on the fringes until about the midway point. But when she introduced her, I really wanted to know more about her, so I was a bit frustrated that she wasn’t mentioned much more until later in the book.

However, once I reached the middle of the book, Ms. Sleiman didn’t disappoint me with the second half of the book. The danger one of the women was in reached beyond her and caused tension and suspense in the story. The internal struggles of many of the characters was something I believe anyone can relate to. Also, the struggle with choices that another character experienced was also completely relatable. These things kept me turning pages and cheering for these characters until the very end.

D. L. Sleiman obviously knows a lot about the Muslim culture and told this story in a gentle, caring way that helped me to understand the Muslim culture a little better. I always enjoy learning about other cultures and people groups. Learning about people different from ourselves is the only way to understand their lives and struggles and to be able to accept them for who they are. I wish more people would be willing to do this. I believe being open to learning about the differences in different cultures can build a bridge between us and lessen the “hate” that seems to flow too strongly and too frequently in today’s society.

I encourage anyone who has ever had a friend or relative from another culture or who would like to get to know someone from another culture to read this book. It clearly shows how difficult that can be, as well as how rewarding it can be. I know I said the book seemed to have a slow start, but it was well worth sticking with to the very end. Thank you, D. L. Sleiman for this two book set. I will treasure them and what they taught me for years to come.

The Light Arises by C.S. Wachter

C.S. Wachter isn’t letting any grass grow under her feet (cliche, I know). But it was just a few short months ago on February 16, 2018 that her first book, The Sorcerer’s Bane was published and got rave reviews. The Sorcerer’s Bane introduced us to Prince Rayne, or the slave boy, Wren, and his story wrenched my heart and made me love him and want him to survive. This first book also gave us hope as it introduced the One and his work in Wren’s life.

Now, in Book 2 of “The Seven Words” series, The Light Arises, releases on May 29, 2018, C.S. Wachter does not disappoint. As a matter of fact, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I liked The Light Arises even better than The Sorcerer’s Bane. This, to me, seems an unlikely feat from a debut author, but C.S. Wachter has nailed it. She has proven that she can definitely write a story that will hold my interest, make me love the characters and cheer for them; make me laugh with them and cry with or for them. An author who can evoke that much emotion within me while I read his or her words is an author with longevity as far as I’m concerned.

In The Light Arises, Rayne struggles with relationships in his home on the world of Ochen. Though he is the Prince, he has been gone for many years and has recently returned. While he was gone, his parents, King Theodor and and Queen Rowena, have devoted themselves to Rayne’s cousin, Brayden. There have been problems between Brayden and Rayne since they were young boys, but now Brayden is insufferable. He is the cause of a strain between Rayne and his parents, so Rayne feels the need to leave his home.

He is not happy to leave the parents he has just been reunited with, but the One has called him for a higher purpose. He is to be the Light Bringer who is to find the seven words hidden on the seven worlds in order to defeat the darkness. He is to begin by bringing light to Veres, a world one can only enter if involved in the brutal games arranged by the Sorial merchants. Rayne is forced to become slave Wren once again to infiltrate the games to skip to the isolated world.

Still more trouble awaits in the form of a golden-haired girl who has vivid memories of the day an assassin came and destroyed her world and disabled her father. She plans to kidnap the prince in order to get King Theodor to help her people.

As I said, this book doesn’t disappoint. There is still lots of action and battling the forces of evil, as well as a promised hope. The Light Arises kept me turning pages to the very end and I eagerly await Book 3 of “The Seven Words” series by C.S. Wachter.

My only question is: will Book 3 be even better than Book 2?

If you like Christian Fantasy stories, I highly recommend these first two books in “The Seven Words” series by C. S. Wachter. If you’ve already read The Sorcerer’s Bane, you don’t want to miss The Light Arises. If you haven’t read The Sorcerer’s Bane, what are you waiting for? Read it and then grab The Light Arises and keep reading!