Christmas Poem


christmas-with-the-poets-illustrationThis poem seemed particularly apt for this election year, which has caused so much friction and harsh words between friends:

Under the Holly Bough

Charles MacKay

Ye who have scorned each other,
Or injured friend or brother,
In this fast-fading year;
Ye who, by word or deed,
Have made a kind heart bleed,
Come gather here!

Let sinned against and sinning
Forget their strife’s beginning,
And join in friendship now.
Be links no longer broken,
Be sweet forgiveness spoken
Under the Holly-Bough.

Ye who have loved each other,
Sister and friend and brother,
In this fast-fading year:
Mother and sire and child,
Young man and maiden mild,
Come gather here;

And let your heart grow fonder,
As memory shall ponder
Each past unbroken vow;
Old loves and younger wooing
Are sweet in the renewing
Under the Holly-Bough.

Ye who have nourished sadness,
Estranged from hope and gladness
In this fast-fading year;
Ye with o’erburdened mind,
Made aliens from your kind,
Come gather here.

Let not the useless sorrow
Pursue you night and morrow,
If e’er you hoped, hope now.
Take heart,— uncloud your faces,
And join in our embraces
Under the Holly-Bough.

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Free Kindle Books: A house without books is like a room without windows

No man has a right to bring up his children without surrounding them with books, if he has the means to buy them. It is a wrong to his family. Children learn to read by being in the presence of books. The love of knowledge comes with reading and grows upon it. And the love of knowledge, in a young mind, is almost a warrant against the inferior excitement of passions and vices. — H. Mann.

colorful book border

  • Unless otherwise noted, books are free but this can change without notice. Doublecheck.
  • If you click a link and it doesn’t finish loading, just hit refresh. Sometimes the page just kind of hangs for some reason, I am not sure why.
  • If I don’t say, “I loved this book” or “I read this,” Or something along those lines, I haven’t read the book. I haven’t read most of these. I’m just your book bird-dog, sniffing up potential good reads.
  • I use various search methods to come up with titles. Then I read the blurbs, a couple of the best and worst of the reviews, and sometimes scan the free pages.
  • I screen out so many this way that I end up *not* posting more books I’ve looked over than I post. And yet, still some duds slip through.

vintage BOOK with owls lettering

Ruth, by Elizabeth Gaskell-  according to reviews, this is not as good as, say, Cranford, Wives and Daughters, or North and South.  But it’s still Gaskell.

Reader Review: Elizabeth Gaskell is often referred to as the forgotten classic author and “Ruth” is a prime introduction into this obviously complex and passionate woman. “Ruth” is a truly brilliant novel dealing with the issue of a fallen woman due to an illicit affair and subsequent birth of a bastard child. This, due to the societal assumptions of morality and righteousness, lead the main character into a series of deceptions and tribulations in an attempt at redemption. Gaskell’s eloquent prose engrosses the reader into the lives of the multiple characters and as it is in three volumes, much time is spent developing each individual. This allows for a true feeling and understanding of the motives and meanings behind every action. The character of Ruth is obviously the most important and Gaskell allows her to develop into an almost Christ-like figure in her beliefs, faith and actions. “Ruth” is a novel that tackles incredibly sensitive and deep subject matter and reaffirms ones belief in a higher power. This is a novel that should be introduced back into the mainstream to achieve the stature that it deserves as a classic of literature.

vintage BOOK with owls lettering

Moonfleet by John Meade Faulkner (I downloaded this one to read after we move to the Philippines)

Amazon Reader Review: Moonfleet (1898) begins as a mystery and an adventure story, a tale of smuggling set among the cliffs, caves, and downs of Dorset. What will be the outcome of the conflict between smugglers and revenue men? How can the hero, John Trenchard, discover the secret of Colonel John Mohune’s treasure? As the book progresses these two interwoven themes resolve themselves into a third and richer one, with the friendship and suffering of both John Trenchard and the craggy, taciturn Elzevir Block. The novel is at once a well-paced account of dramatic action and a celebration of the unregainable freedoms of childhood, when, as Falkner’s sister wrote in a memoir, ‘there are no seasons, everything happens all the year round’. Falkner’s feeling for history and for the landscape of his Dorset setting combine with his gift for storytelling to turn Moonfleet into a historical romance of moving intensity.

vintage BOOK with owls lettering

Lilith, a Romance by George MacDonald.  Haunting is a good word for this one. I first read it in high school, and I scarcely understood it, but couldn’t stop thinking about it, and remembered certain scenes and passages for years.  I’m about due to read it again.

Amazon reader review: Rich in symbolism, steeped in paradox, this is a tale of a man’s journey and his coming to terms with the frailty of humanity when it is seen in the light of God. MacDonald never hides the basis of his paradigm–that there is a God who loves us, who knows better than we do what is best for us–rather, he weaves it into a rich tapestry of adventure wherein key characters make known the paradox that is at the heart of Chrisitianity: he who would be first must be last.
This is not an easy read. And, truly, anyone who is not willing to accept that an author may expound his faith through the words and deeds of his characters–indeed, through the fatherly nature of the narative itself–will little likely enjoy reading this tale. But to those who are ready to dive in to the heart of a realm of paradox in an attempt to better know the God that MacDonald worshiped, this may very well be a life-changing story.
I am not a man given to favorites. But no other work has colored my life so beautifully as MacDonald’s LILITH. And no other story is more dear to my heart.

Phantastes is in the same vein and also free.  MacDonald has several other books for free as well- Malcolm,

vintage BOOK with owls lettering

The Birds’ Christmas Carol– beautiful story of a sick little girl, born on Christmas Day and her family.


Subject to change without notice: Free Titles were free at the time I copied and pasted the links. But they don’t always stay free. The older, public domain books should, because they are all in the public domain, but sometimes….

Shameless money grubbing: I thought this was common knowledge, but it turns out it’s not- these are affiliate links. If you click on a free title and download it, I get….. nothing. If you click on a free title and while you are at Amazon also buy something else, I get….. something. Depending on what you buy, it will probably be somewhere between 4% and 7.5% of what you spend (I don’t get a percentage on penny sales) but I don’t pretend to understand how all of that side works. People have tried to explain, but they start with numbers and my ears buzz and I can’t hear.

Also, Swagbucks remains my favorite source for free Amazon gift cards. And if you haven’t joined, please click on the link and join so that I can keep getting free Amazon gift cards because I am still shameless. Of course, if you regularly shop on line, you can also sign up for ebates, and then always check ebates first, before you do your regular shopping. You can get quite a tidy sum back on the purchases you were going to make anyway, which is not a bad deal. And then you can use the money for books- or for other things.=)

Don’t have a Kindle? : You don’t have to have a Kindle to take advantage of these offers. You can read them on various free reading apps. I often read mine on my laptop if they are short enough books. Or I will start there to see if I want to finish it later or remove it from my Kindle already. If you’re curious, this is the Kindle I have, and I have used others and mine remains my favorite. Mine has Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi and I don’t have commercial screensavers. Personally, I don’t like Kindle Fires because I am a crank like that.

If you like these free listings, you should also like my Facebook page, because I list other free titles there several times each week.

Yes, my Kindle gets slow because I stuff it too full since I have no sense of proportion when it comes to owning books, both real and virtual.

You can left click on a title on your Kindle and delete it from your device, while still keeping it in your list of titles at Amazon in case you want to add it back to your Kindle later without paying for the title all over again. Don’t delete it from folder at Amazon unless you want to rid yourself of it permanently. Now that I have my tricksy little new phone, I have added it to my list of devices to which I can download devices. Woot!

commentary sources: Most of the blurbs and book descriptions above are not mine, but come from reviews on Amazon’s page.

To organize the books on your kindle

Thanks for reading!

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Soup: Fish Chowder

soup-bowl-2Fish Chowder. — Two pounds of fresh cod or any white fish, a quar ter-pound bacon, four large potatoes, one small onion, half a can tomatoes, one quart milk, butter the size of a walnut, and a teaspoonful of flour for thickening. Pick the fish to pieces, removing all bone and skin; peel potatoes and cut into dice ; cut the bacon in small pieces ; rub the butter and flour to a cream. On the bottom of a granite kettle spread half of the potatoes in a layer, then half of fish, then sprinkle in. the onions minced fine, then the bacon, then half the tomatoes. Then a shake of salt and pepper; add the rest of the fish, potatoes, tomatoes and more salt and pepper, using in all one teaspoonful salt and one-half tea spoonful pepper. Cover with water, let simmer for half an hour. Let the milk come to a scald, put a pinch of soda into the chowder and stir; add the hot milk to the butter and flour ; stir smooth ; then add to the chowder; let get very hot, and serve.

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How to Cut a Five Pointed Star

five-pointed-star-directionsThis works nicely for the fourth of July, too.

Fold and cut as indicated. Some of us need to practice a few times to get it right.  Cut them in various sizes.  Paint, spraypaint, brush with glue and sprinkle with glitter.  Hang on the tree or attach to ribbons and hang from the top of your window or mantle.

Making mistakes is a valuable part of the process.  Try to figure out where you went wrong and how to make it better, or differently, next time.

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Day Five

Day 5- Sunday for us.
Made breakfast in the room: Rice, scrambled eggs, and longanisa sausage, which is sweet and slightly smelly, which we didn’t notice until we came back from church, and the windows had been closed up. Next time, I’ll just open the kitchen window while frying them.

We do still have the house we thought we had chosen, but we learned that the lady from school who is helping us is also still looking for one on *this* side of the busy road, just in case, and one ready sooner rather than later is better still. Here’s the front of it (they are really working hard on it):

And here’s the porch and patio area (porch or sala is covered and protected from rain and sun, but allows breezes through):

We went to church this morning by jeepyney. I think if we’d hit a bump, and some of the roads are quite bumpy, my son would have a concussion. He had to bend over all over again, like he did in the pedicab, and his head was still brushing against the ceiling.

Here’s where we went to church:


And here’s how the Cherub got down the non-ADA approved stairs:

We only did morning services because the traveller’s tummy has hit my husband hard today. Perhaps 40 people, very friendly, lovely people. The service was in a mixture of English, Visaya and the other one which starts with an I and I keep forgetting. My favourite part was singing the doxology, and us being the only ones singing in English.

I had not really been homesick yet, but there were several friendly little preschoolers and also there was an adorable baby behind me who played with my hair, and after church I held said baby, right around one year old, who hugged my neck and patted my cheek and I nearly cried for missing grandbabies and that’s all I will say about that here.

I am eating crisp fuji apples that cost about .20 each.
We had dinner with another family from the school. The Boy is going on a boat trip with them and some others in a couple weeks, and there will be snorkeling.

A family here are returning home rather suddenly so a lot of their things came up for sale very immediately- and they are newer things, so very good shape. We have spent slightly more on them than we budgeted for, but we should be spending less on the house than we had budgeted for, so it comes out even, or a bit ahead in the end.

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