Angel Letters

angel letters

Angel Letters

 

Ballentine Books, 1991

 

After writing and publishing her book, A Book of Angels, hundreds of people wrote to the author telling their own angel stories. Those stories are compiled into this book, Angel Letters. “These experiences of healing, rescue, warning, and comfort, of angelic blessings seen and unseen, will bring solace, wonder, laughter, and inspiration to anyone who welcomes a little angelic intervention in everyday life.” (From the dust jacket, inside flap.)

 

The stories in this little book are really inspirational. Sometimes in this crazy world we need to be reminded that we are Loved and Looked After.  Here’s a story shared by the author –

 

“I remember once I was in the desert without a hat. The sun beat down unmercifully. I thought, “I ought to have a hat; I’m going to get sunstroke.” And four hundred paces ahead, behind a rock, was a battered, torn straw hat. I clapped it on my head. This was before I understood that something—angels, a spiritual cavalry—is watching over us, waiting to be of help. And not to me alone but to all of us and all the time.  I took it as a lucky accident, that hat.”

 

As I read these stories, my skin rippled with goose pimples and I was truly amazed at some of them (one of my favorites was the elderly man on the side of the road that stopped a car from plowing head-on into a herd of deer in the dead of night. However, even as deeply as I believe in angels and the Presence of the Divine in my life – some of the stories were a little more difficult for me to believe – but then I realized, I don’t have to believe them. They weren’t my angels; those messages weren’t meant for me.

 

If you believe in angels – or even if you don’t – I hope you’ll find this book to be inspiring, or at the very least, thought provoking.

 

Rating: 4 daisy rating

 

Reviewer: Debby 2Debby

 

Gift from the Sea

Gift_from_the_sea_by_anne_morrow_li

Gift from the Sea

 

Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Pantheon Books, 1997, 1955

 

From the back of the book, “A modern-day classic here are Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s elegant and wise meditations on youth and age, love and marriage, solitude, peace, and contentment, as she set the down during a brief vacation by the ocean. She helps us see ways to reconcile our most deeply personal needs with obligations to family, friends, lovers, and work, ways to separate loneliness from replenishing solitude, and ways to find solace in the simplest of daily tasks. Now more than ever, Gift from the Sea serves as a spiritual compass guiding us toward inner tranquility in the face of life’s deeper questions.”

 

I loved this book. It is going on my wish list to add to my library. There is so much nourishment contained within its pages that it deserves – no, demands – to be read once a year. This one reading only scratched the surface if the treasure within. I read it slowly – had to renew it once at the library – as to savor the words and lessons. And there are lessons to be learned and applied to my life. Lessons that are just as meaningful today as the time in which they were originally written.  First published in 1955, her insight into the world and its foibles is just as apropos today as it was then. This quote is timely despite its age:

 

The inter-relatedness of the world links us constantly with more people than our hearts can hold.  Or rather—for I believe the heart is infinite—modern communications loads us with more problems than the human frame can carry. It is good, I think, for our hearts, our minds, our imaginations to be stretched; but body, nerve, endurance and life-span are not as elastic. My life cannot implement in action the demands of all the people to whom my heart responds. I cannot marry all of them, or bear them all as children, or care for them all as I would my parents in illness or old age. Our grandmothers, and even—with some scrambling—our mothers, lived in a circle small enough to let them implement in action most of the impulses of their hearts and minds. We were brought up in a tradition that has now become impossible, for we have extended our circle throughout space and time.

 

I love the way the author  writes – it is quiet, lyrical, and soothing. Like a cup of cool water on a hot day or a mug of hot chocolate on a cold night.

 

“The sea does no reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open choiceless as a beach—waiting for a gift from the sea.”

 

Rating: 5 daisies

 

Reviewer: Debby 2Debby

 

220px-CharlesLindbergh22Of interest: Anne Morrow Lindbergh was the wife of Charles Lindbergh, of flying solo across the Atlantic fame and mother of  the infamous kidnapping and subsequent murder of her son, Charles Lindbergh, Jr.

Toto the Tornado Kitten

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Toto the Tornado Kitten
 
Jonathan Hall
Illustrated by Carol Ruzicka

2012

What a sweet book! It brought tears to my eyes – especially when Toto looks out the window and misses his old home in the woods and his mother. Sometimes I can see my cats looking out the window and wonder if they  miss the Wild, too. 
 

 

Here’s  the gist of the lovely picture book. Toto is born to a very pretty mom and has siblings and they all live in a field and in some woods and are very happy. Then one day a big storm called a ‘tornado’ – that’s sort of a ginormous funnel-shaped cloud that hops and skips around on the ground. There’s lots of wind surrounding it and wherever it touches down it destroys everything. Well, this tornado came through the woods where Toto lived with his family and tore the woods up and the poor kitten ended up in a tree! He was eventually rescued, nursed back to health and found a new, forever home with humans. True story!!!
 

 

The illustrations are sweet and painted in expressive colors. The print is large enough for the earliest readers but it also makes for a good story time book. Children need to start out early learning how important it is to be kind to animals and this book is a good way to start that lesson.
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Oh Toto! Where Did You Go?
 
Jonathan Hall
Illustrated by Carol Ruzicka
2013
 
In this book Toto is now an adult kitty and one day he decides to go on a walkabout to visit friends. He has catnip tea for breakfast, visits the bank to make a donation to the local shelter, the firefighters at the local fire station, a nursing home, an elementary school, a tv station and more! He has such a full day and finally realizes that home is best.
 
This book’s story is written in ryhme which makes it extra charming. The illustrations are beautifully detailed so that they convey the story without reading. Very pretty.
 
We loved both books and that 100% of the proceeds of the books goes toward animal rescue shelters, including the Animal Rescue League of Boston. Toto has his own Facebook page which is HERE.
 
As a result of his rescue, Toto became famous and travels from place to place meeting and greeting humans and teaching them to be kind to animals.
 
Rating for both books: 5 daisies
 
Reviewer: Debby 2Debby

Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book

everythingEverything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book
Golden Books, Random House, 2013
          From the forward by the author: “Dear Reader, If you are like most Americans, you grew up with Little Golden Books. … We at Golden Books think there’s a good chance that many of us learned pretty much everything that really matters about life from what we read between those sturdy, gilt-bound cardboard covers. … Our country has faced some hard times of late, and we’ve been forced to look at ourselves and how we’re living our lives. …Maybe this book can help you! After all, Little Golden Books were first published during the dark days of World War II, and they’ve been comforting people during trying times ever since – while gently teaching us a thing or two.”
          What a sweet book!  It is compilation of many illustrations from many different Little Golden Books and recaptioned to gently remind the reader to enjoy life. I loved it – but then I love those little books. Many of the illustrations were familiar to me and it was good to see favorite artists again (Eloise Wilkin, Gustaf Tenggren). But I also ran across some books that were new to me, ones that I’d like to read even all these years later!  It’s a great book to give a friend  – or even yourself – when they’re feeling like life has run them over. We love this book very much and although the copy we read is a library book, we wouldn’t mind having a copy for ourselves!!
Rating: 4 daisy rating 4 daisies!
Reviewer: Debby 2 Debby

Illustrating Justice for NBC News

illustrating justice

Illustrating Justice for NBC News

Betty Wells

In Collaboration with Vickie Gentri

This book is by and about a famous artist you’ve never heard of.  You know all those illustrations news programs use for notable trials and important events when camera’s aren’t around – well someone has to draw them, and in this case, the artist is Betty Wells. I never gave those artists much thought but since reading this book, I can now better appreciate their talent for capturing live moments in history on the fly.

The author covers some well-known trials, such as Watergate (1972-1973),Iran-Contra (1989), John Hinckley (1982), Susan Smith (1995), Tailhook (1991) and most recently, the Beltway Snipers Attacks (2003). She also covered sessions in the Senate and House of Representatives as well as the Supreme Court. She offers a unique perspective inside the courtroom from an artist’s point of view. There are no guilty/not guilty verdicts in this book – just the faces of the parties involved. The supplies she used, most often a Strathmore 400 series 18 x 24 drawing pad, Prismacolor pencils, and india ink were used to capture history at its best and worst moments.

For any aspiring artist this book offers inspiration in the beauty of average humans. For the history buff, this book provides a fresh, new look at some of the most historic trial and political events of the past century.

Rating: 4 daisy rating

Reviewer:

Debby 2Debby

 

Art by Betty Wells:

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Art Betty Wells created during retirement.