Tuesday, January 26, 2016

52 in 52 - Book 6 - The Dressmaker - Rosalie Ham

The second book I managed to read (on one domestic flight- Australia, you're a mighty country!) was The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham. This is an Aussie book, set in Victoria, and recently has been released as a movie. I heard about the movie before I knew it was a book, but still haven't seen the movie. 
Just under 300 pages, another great read. 

Small towns are often full of drama and gossip, and Dungatar is no exception. Myrtle "Tilly" was forced to leave town as a young child, ostracised because her mother was unwed, abused by her school mates, and blamed for the death of one of her bullies, she was sent away to school in Melbourne, against the will of her mother, who was kept in the dark about her whereabouts and slowly lost her sanity whilst missing her daughter. 
Leaving school in Melbourne to study dressmaking across the globe, she became an exceptional seamstress and designer. Personal tragedy left her feeling alone and defeated, prompting a decision to go back to find and look after her mother. When she couldn't make letter or phone contact, she knew there was no option but to go back to Dungatar. Finding her mother neglected and mad, she fed and nursed her, cleaned and aired the house, and slowly her mother's sanity was restored- though her acid wit was still a constant companion. Though the majority held on to their pre conceived opinion of Tilly, a few were her allies. Tilly's exceptional skills gained her work from the villagers, though not respect or payment - it seems there were cash flow problems due greed and "priorities" 
Vicious and hateful, the village seems doomed from the start, Tilly gets her revenge in the end, leaving the town in her wake with her beloved Singer after the death of both her mother and the man she loved. 

I can't wait to see the movie! It is always good to see someone else's interpretation! 

Happy Australia Day!! 

52 in 52 BOOK 5 - The Beach Cafe - Lucy Diamond

A whirlwind trip across the country for a wedding is always a good opportunity to get into some new books! 8 took the book I was reading with me, but found another 2 at the airport and read both of them whilst away - now I'm back I can get back into The Best Yes ( as well as an audiobook I'm listening to, and an ebook that's on the go....) 

So, The Beach Cafe was a nice easy read, a little under 500 pages, a story of trials and success. Evie has always been the black sheep of her family, and following the tragic and untimely death of her Aunt, she inherits a cafe on the beach in the village that she spent countless childhood holidays. Her family has only doubts in her ability to manage a cafe, and are convinced failure is the only outcome unless she sells the cafe. 

Walking out of a workplace filled with sexual harassment and abuse causes tension between Evie and her long term boyfriend, who is a serious, sensible man, not at all fond of spontaneity or things he deems "irresponsible". Evie heads out of town to her new cafe to try and sort out the staff and how the cafe is actually - a far more daunting task then expected when she comes against upset and angry locals who miss her Aunt, also believing the gossip that Evie will take the easy way out and sell the cafe to some hot shot developer; staff who leave much to be desired; and a cafe surrounded by rubbish, tables filled with dirty dishes, no stock in the kitchen, and customers being served off ham in their sandwiches... Not a great start! 
When her temp agency calls to let her know another position has come up, she feels she has no choice but to go back to the city, her boyfriend, and the harsh judgement of her family. But this position is horrible too, and the judgement of her family is getting her down... 
A candid conversation with her best friend gets her mind ticking... A phone call from her only friend in the village with bad reports about the cafe staff makes up her mind...
Deciding to leave her new job and to go back to her cafe. 
A decision that pushes the tension in her relationship to breaking point... 
So Evie and her best friend pack up all of Evie's belongings and jump in the car without looking back. 
The hurdles just keep coming, it seems nothing can go right for Evie, but she is determined to finally succeed. Her cafe grows in strength and popularity, regaining the joy that it had under the hands of her Aunt. Finally Evie belongs, this is her village, and they embrace her and her cafe. 

Light reading, enjoyable read, good fun.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

52 in 52 - book 4 - Flash - Rachel Anne Ridge

15 minutes into the 14th day of the year, I've finished my 4th book! Flash is the story of a homeless donkey who single handedly turned the lives of a Texan family upside down when he appeared late one night on their long driveway, beaten up and belonging to no one. As time passed and no one claimed him, he was given the name Flash, and became part of the family. Through the ups and downs of family life, Rachel tells her own story. When life seems to hit rock bottom, she observes the incredible resilience of the scruffy but charming Flash, and finds a number of God truths she needs for her life mirrored in the way that Flash lives his. A heartwarming and at times heartbreaking true story, laughter and tears! This book will definitely be read again, more than once!! 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Back to reality

Well, it's been days since I last read a book! After our little trip down south we had to venture quite a way inland to avoid the devastating fires that have torn through the South West, even so we were surrounded by massive clouds of smoke, colouring the sunlight an ominous yellow. 

Once we were back in Perth we had a day to sort ourselves out, finish all those last minute jobs, and pack the car- ready for the 18hr drive on Saturday. 
This photo, the half way mark! Accompanied by a delicious service station pie! 

Getting home just in time to run into Woolworths and grab easy but healthy(ish) dinner and then flaked out after a massive journey. But it was really Brad who did all the work, I was just there for the ride. He is a legend. 
A legend who is sick of me taking photos. 

Church on Sunday, and rediscovery of all the Christmas gifts we were blessed with, but having left town the following day, it was like Christmas all over again. The tree came down, and the cleaning up after Christmas/holidays is... Well, it's started... 
Back at work Monday, but Monday night I managed to pull out another book and start reading a little. 
It's tough coming back to work after a super wonderful and relaxing 2 weeks off, but getting back into the rhythm of things is great. 

I hope your day is equally great! 

Thursday, January 07, 2016

52in52- Book 3 - Go Set a Watchman - Harper Lee

A very late night last night involved tea, spa bath, bubbles, and book! On the 7th day of Jan I am celebrating finishing another book! 

Go Set a Watchman is something of a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, published in 1960which has become classic literature and a staple for students to study. Harper Lee was born in 1926, this year she is 90!! And last year (2015) she released Go Set a Watchman. If that's not inspirational, I'm not sure what is. 

Another book following the life of "Scout" - Jean Louise Finch - who is now in her mid 20s and has been living in New York for a number of years. She is back home in Maycombe and is broken by what she sees and hears from the local men in the county regarding the push to prevent the Negro population from having equal rights. Something Jean Louise doesn't even think is a question- everyone is human and should be treated as such. 
 It is well written and I thoroughly enjoyed it, it has been a bit over a decade since I've read To Kill a Mockingbird! Perhaps that's one that needs revisiting. 

Only a few days left of our holiday. We have seen so many friends and loved ones and were even able to help by looking after our friends children whilst she put on her nurses hat and went to assist with a serious boat incident that occurred next to the cafe we were eating at. Very emotionally draining to witness incidents like that, but so blessed to have been there to (attempt) to entertain the girls whilst their mum saved the day! Today we are avoiding bush fires to try and venture back to Perth. Might take 4 hours longer than it should... But that's all part of the adventure isn't it! 

God bless! 

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

52 in 52 - Book 2 - Made With Love by Tricia Goyer and Sherry Gore

I love holidays! Time to actually get stuck into reading! Last night I finished my second book of the year, Made With Love, an Amish novel written by Tricia Goyer and Sherry Gore. 340-ish pages, easy to read, filled with delicious looking recipes, it follows the story of Lovina Miller, a young Amish woman who is following her dream of opening her own pie shop- a dream that clashes with her Mem's dream for her and her 4 sisters, that they each find a suitable man and be married. The book provokes thought and reflection as it takes you through the story. The simplified life of the Amish does not remove them from the complexities of human emotions and relations, great book, fun and easy read. 

Today we are off to see friends and explore the beautiful south west of Western Australia! I'll be sure to pack another book! 

God bless! 

Saturday, January 02, 2016

52in52 - book 1 - Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe - Max Lucado

All resolutions start full steam ahead and with great promise and motivation, I hope to make this one last the distance- 52 books in 52 weeks. Today I read Max Lucado's Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe, written with Candace Lee and Eric Newman. It's a 180-odd paged book centering around the life of Chelsea, a woman who's "fresh start" in life following the break down of her marriage and death of her mother is turning out to be her biggest challenge yet. Her guardian angel "Mannie" devises a plan to help her find her way back to where she needs to be to put her life back together.
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, it was light and yet encountered some heavier topics that have become far too normalised in our society.
I highly recommend it and I am sure I will read it again in. The future!


Happy New Year!

I hope that 2016 holds great joy and blessings for all!

It appears to me that last years resolve to blog regularly fell to pieces in May...

Since May, I have finished my Bachelor of Medical Science (pathology) and had a number of changes at work, for a while there I was working 5 jobs, which became quite unsustainable and detrimental to my ability to get anything done.

The last part of the year I found a new role as an events organiser! Quite a stressful little role that one! Hedland Community Carols 2015 went well and had about 2000 in attendance, with so many people enjoying their night, it was wonderful to be a part of!

2016 for me is going to be stripped back and more organised. I have begun a planner to outline when I am able to take custom orders from my *currently under construction new website* www.jlcreations.com.au - another occurrence of 2015, the registering of my own business, Jacqueline Leigh Creations. I have a lot to learn about business still, but it is very exciting learning how to make it work. I will be creating custom purses, bags, and accessories to start, and potentially other items in the future. I do already have Facebook and Instagram hooked up, check them out!

Other 2016 plans (avoiding use of the word "goal") include more painting and sewing, looking after the health of my body, my mind, and my soul through deliberate steps in nourishing each, keeping God at the centre of everything, ramping up women's ministry in our church, and prioritising family.
Plans require planning, and work... These are not just "thrown to the wind and hope for the best" dreams, they will all be carried out deliberately and with intent.

Side goal, 52 books in 52 weeks, I aim to read a book a week for the entirety of 2016. This will fit nicely under looking after the health of my mind and, depending on my book selection, could overlap into soul, body, art and sewing. I'm signing up on read 52 books in 52 weeks . Com >>link<< so you can join me if you would like!

I'm off to breakfast with family now, so I hope to be back soon! God bless!