I Won the Cederberg Tea Giveaway + Book Club Picks: The Insanity of God

So a while back Cederberg Tea Company was doing a giveaway-you know me and free, I just can’t resist.

As I always say:

“Free is always good unless it is diseases.”

Anytime I see a giveaway I have to enter it.

So I commented I wanted Chai tea (as my entry) and won this package of Classic Red, Green Rooibos, Rooibos + Bourbon Vanilla, Rooibos + Chai, and Rooibos + Ginger.

Now I didn’t pay close attention when I entered the giveaway and didn’t realize it contained Rooibos in it. I avoid Rooibos after I had the one by Tea Forté, and it did not agree with me. I resolved to not drink any again, until I saw that this was Rooibos.

That’s not good.

Well I won it and needed to review it, so I decided to stop wasting time and start drinking some tea.

I drank some…and loved it!

The other one I had must have had something wrong with it or something, because these were fantastic. I expected to like the Chai, but was just blown away by the Rooibos + Bourbon Vanilla. I drank it and drank it, until I realized I only had one teabag left.

I mean you know how I feel about Earl Grey Tea:

But I was just drinking Rooibos + Bourbon Vanilla, at least until it was all gone.

The others were good too, but that one was the best!

Delicious!!!! I know I will definitely be ordering from them in the future.

For more giveaway posts, go to I Won the Madsen Creations Giveaway

For more tea posts, go to Iced Blackberry Infused Earl Grey Tea

So a few years back I was given a collection of five teas, A World of Teas. As I was about to try them out, I started thinking, which books would best suit the teas? After all nothing goes together better than a good book and a delicious tea.

And eat scones!

Since then I try my best to repeat it whenever I try out new teas. 🙂 As this is Chai teas and Rooibos, I tried to do my best to connect it with books that are set in Africa or India.

Tea #1: Classic Red

This Classic Red was a wonderful tea. It had everything you wanted in it and I enjoyed it so much I finished it before I realized it-picking up the cup to drink some more and finding it empty.

You can tell at first sip why it is a “classic”.

Around the World in 80 Days is one of my favorite books and an amazing classic. It is the story of mysterious, wealthy Phileas Fogg being bet to travel around the world in 80 days. It was to be an interesting challenge-made more so when he is mistaken to be a bank robber and followed by a detective; along with having some people try to sabotage him from winning. It has action, adventure, romance-everything you could want and more! It is a real page turner and keeps you on the edge of your seat to see if Phileas is going to make it or not!

One of my favorite parts is when they go to India and the group rescue Aouda, an Indian princess, from her dead husband’s evil relatives trying to sacrifice her so they can inherit everything. This is a great scene because in it we see Phileas change from his “mechanical” way of being (everything planned and thought out) as he steps out to help, becoming a “classic” hero. I love him and Aouda together-you know me and biracial relationships. A great book and great tea.

For more on Around the World in 80 Days, go to Happiness is Having a Library Card: Another 13 of the Best Fictional Libraries

Tea #2: Green Rooibos

This tea was exactly how I expected green tea to taste, no surprises-but I mean that in a good way. It’s nice to have something and know you are going to get exactly what you want to get.

This tea made me think of Death on the Nile. Death on the Nile isn’t my favorite Agatha Christie novel as to me there wasn’t any big surprises or truly innovative or amazing characters (except Cornelia Ruth Robson). But like this tea, sometimes you want the predictable, to get exactly as you expect.

The story is of Linnet, a wealthy woman, who marries her best friend’s boyfriend, Simon Doyle. For their honeymoon they go on a trip through the Nile, and of course run into Hercule Poirot (he never gets a vacation). He sees the former best friend, Jacqueline, threaten them and they ask Poirot for help. He declines, but warns Jacqueline to stop or else she will open herself to evil. She refuses and follows the Doyles on their boat trip on the Nile, joined by 11 other interesting characters. Linnet is found dead (of course), and everything points to the two characters who could not have done it. Who could the murderer be? Poirot is on the case.

For more on Agatha Christie, go to Shame Book Tag

Tea #3: Rooibos + Bourbon Vanilla

So I thought I would like this tea, as who doesn’t love vanilla? But OMGoodness I was not prepared for how amazing this tea was. It was so delicious I just drank it and drank it and before I knew it, I had drank it all up. It was sweet, wonderful, and smelled so good.

What I felt for the tea, I felt the same way about this book. When I saw the art deco style cover, I thought I would enjoy this mystery, but I didn’t realize how much I would love it. The story is of Perveen Mistry, female Indian lawyer, in the 1920s. She is sent out to a small princely state to speak to the Dowager Maharani (grandmother) and Maharani (mother) about the young Maharaja’s schooling. She is the only one who can as the ladies are observing purdah (and cannot speak to any men not related to them). Preveen travels out there and finds things are not well in the palace. The Dowager Maharani and the Maharani are both fighting for control, the circumstances of the older brother’s death are very suspicious, and Perveen believes the young prince might be next-especially after a monkey eats her bread and dies. Will Perveen be able to figure out who is responsible in time to save the prince, or will she be next?

Not only is this an intriguing mystery, but Perveen has an interesting and heartbreaking backstory. It was fantastic and so easy to have your attention captured-and keep flipping pages to find out what happens next.

Tea #4: Rooibos + Chai

This was absolutely delicious and just what I wanted in my chai tea-spicy but not too much, sweet but the right amount-i.e everything I wanted. It was so good that after I finished the bourbon one, the chai was gone just like that “snap”.

Like the tea, The Sign of the Four has everything you could want in a Sherlock Holmes mystery. You have a beautiful woman in need (Watson notes she is very attractive [he’s in love with her]), a disappeared father, jewels, a mysterious note, a secret treasure, a peculiar mansion, a villain with a wooden leg, a puzzling death, a bloodhound, and the sign of the four.

It is an amazing mystery, Holmes and Doyle at their finest, and like I said gives you everything your could want. It also is what I believe The Great Mouse Detective was based on, so if you love that movie-you’ll love this book.

For more on Sherlock Holmes, go to Your Cases Have Indeed Been of the Greatest Interest to Me: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Tea #5: Rooibos + Ginger

So I didn’t think I would like this tea as ginger tea is often too strong, but this was not overpowering but the right amount. It was enjoyable but still had a bit of a kick to it. It’s not something that I would drink all the time, but is perfect for every now and then or if I have a stomachache.

I felt this book was perfect to pair with it as it is a good story but the sam time has a “kick” to it that gets you thinking…I will actually discuss the book fully below.

So it has been over three months since I did a book club book review, I was only a few behind but then things happened and I fell behind.

 

I am 13 books behind…

I know, I know-stop looking at me like that. I just will have to try harder to catch up.

Hmmm…

Anyways…so quick recap for those who haven’t heard of my book club.

So as you all know I started a book club a few years ago, because you know me and books…

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books and need to be around others who feel the same.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. This time our member chose:

The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected by Nik Ripken

So as I read this book 13 months ago, I was hoping to reread it as it had been a while and I wanted to make sure I got the timeline right. So I went to the book from the library…but it turns out the person who checked it out never returned it. Called (I work in the library) and sent notices but the book has not been returned.

Seriously??????!!!!!!!!!!!

I HATE when people do that!!!!!!

I then thought I would ask the other book club member, (one member had borrowed my library book) but she lent it to a friend who never gave it back.

So I’m doing this all based on what I remember from reading this 13 months ago, hopefully this go well. Right now I apologize for anything I write that is wrong.

So the first thing that struck me about this book, was the title. “Insanity of God”? What does that mean? Why did he choose that title?

The story starts off with Nik Ripken (a pseudonym) sharing how he came to know Christ. He was a kid that loved baseball, but God took a hold of his life and set him out on a new path.

He ends up going to a Christian college and meets and marries a pastor’s daughter. After both graduate, they both feel the strong call of the mission field and when they ask to be sent out, they are asked for their qualifications. For Nik, he quotes the Great Commission.

Matthew 28:19-20

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

That part made me laugh so hard.

As Nik hadn’t been raised in church he didn’t know what exactly was being asked. They want to know his education, spiritual journey, youth mission trips, background, etc-but Nik is confident in that the Great Commission tells you to go all throughout the world and he wants to answer the call.

If he was on his own he would have been denied, but his wife knows the lingo and what is being said so they are able to be sent out. They both have a heart for Africa and get sent to Somalia in 1992.

Nik and his wife aren’t able to have a “church” but are sent with an aid group, of which they try and preach to people but find it extremely difficult. Christianity is illegal and having a church is illegal, and anyone who becomes a Christian is often taken away and never seen again. Nik and his wife really struggle with questioning what they are they doing there, is it right being here? Are they helping people?

Things get more unsettled in the country, and the Somali Civil War breaks out. His charity group requests the UN to come take action, and when they do send help, he is one of the people that helps map out the unknown areas of Somalia. I remember him describing the villages and the horror-but one really sticks in my mind. There was a village that was full of kids and had no parents and one of parents with no children, so they went and took the kids to the adults.

Also it was really hard to get the people in need the supplies as the leaders and soldiers would steal them and sell them or use them, and the people would continue to go hungry and without. War is sad and hard.

Ripken’s father didn’t care for him becoming a minister, but when Black Hawk Down came out, he was suddenly proud of his son telling all his friends that Ripken made that happen-the military going in.

The first part of the book was on his mission trip and they later were moved out of Somalia into South Africa, but were moved again. A big milestone in their life and faith was when their son grew ill and because the conditions of their home they lived in aggravated it, their son died. After this, they became heartbroken and returned to the states.

They return to the United States and teach at a bible college to young adults going out into the missions but feel really mixed up. Did they help anyone? Going through trials and tribulations every day was hard and wore them out-how do they keep people going? How do they bloom, survive, and keep going when everything is bleak, when it would be easier to give up and go home?

Ripken then goes on a quest to get this information, to speak to people who have had to go to trials and survived still praising God.

There were two incidents in the quest that really struck me, and I can’t remember their names exactly-but I remember pieces.

The first one took place in Russia. This man was jailed during the communist reign, when Christianity was outlawed and the only religion allowed was the worship of the state. He was thrown in jail-often in isolation, but the thing that kept him going was writing down the word of God. He wrote verse after verse that he remembers, helping to lock it in his brain. The beatings, isolation, lack of food, cold, etc-it was all bearable when he could get a scrap and write something down. That is what got him through.

Ripken later goes to China and their he mets several secret churches, as the church is illegal there. These Christians actually delight in getting thrown in jail or having tribulations, as they feel that is a real marker of being a Christian and consider that is when they go to “school” and recieve their “theological education”. Before anyone can be a pastor they have to have been thrown in prison.

When Ripken leaves he asks what they need and all they want is bibles, a bible. He gives them his and they take the pieces apart and hand them off to different people so they have a book to memorize, and it reminded of how they memorized books in Fahrenheit 451.

It also makes me think of how lucky we are in the United States, how many bibles are available in my home, in my parent’s home, for free, online, in a phone app, etc-and here are people begging for a page.

Wow!

The rest of the book has different stories-and I enjoyed it. It defintely made you realize how lucky you are to be in the United States and how grateful we should be for everything we have, even in the midst of COVID-19.

At the end of the book, I concluded that the insanity was not in reference to God, him being insane, but how we feel as humans. We can only comprehend so much of what God’s plan is with our tiny human brain-it seems insane, but God has a plan for us-a bigger picture.

Hmmm…

For more Book Club Picks, go to Book Club Picks: Chasing the Wind

For more Christian novels, go to Praying With Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen

For more nonfiction, go to The History of England By a Partial Prejudiced and Ignorant Historian or is Jane Austen a Precursor to Drunk History?

For more bible verses, go to Literary Tea Parties

Book Club Picks: The Zookeeper’s Wife

So as you all know I started a book club last year. I have fallen behind with my posts, but I’m catching up. Only two more after this and I’m back on track.

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. This time one member chose:

The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story by Diane Ackerman

The member had seen the movie and wanted to read the book afterwards. And we all know how that goes:

Now I haven’t seen the movie but I did enjoy the book.

It is a non-fiction story about Jan and Antonina Zabinski who owned and ran a zoo in Poland. They cared strongly for the animals, raising all kinds-sometimes even in their homes. Some animal babies grew up sleeping and eating alongside their son.

They had a beautiful complex and even some very rare animals that other zoos tried to get their hands on. But that all changed with World War II.

NO!

It is horrific to read the destruction that was unleashed on the people with the bombings, annd how the animals were in the cages and just decimated. Jan and Antonina tried to help as many as they could, and let them out but still many became casualties of war.

It really is sad

They lost many members of their animal family to that, some took off when the destruction started never to be known what happened to them, and the rest were all picked apart and sent to other Zoos. Those poor animals.

After the animals were gone, the Zabinskis used the zoo complex to help the Resistance against the Nazis. They stored guns and other ammunitions there, right in plain sight almost and were never caught. In fact the Nazis never thought the Polish were smart enough to do something that intelligent as they weren’t of Aryan blood. They sure showed those guys.

Then they started using it as a way station to help Jewish people, until they could move out of Poland. Now what was really interesting was that Jan’s father became so angry with the Christian church that he sent Jan to Jewish school instead. There Jan developed many friendships with all different Jewish people-bringing them food when they were receiving nothing and helping many in the ghettos. Because of those friendships he was asked and wanted to help the Jewish people, the two of them saving over 300 people.

Wow

It really is am amazing story and I think it is well worth a read if this is the type of story you are interested in.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: A Christmas Carol

For more non-fiction, go to Book Club Picks: The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II

Book Club Picks: The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II

So I have been trying to catch up with my book club book reviews, and I am almost there. Just three more (including this one) and I am back on track.

Alright!

So every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. We’ve been reading a lot of fiction books, so one of the members decided to choose a non-fiction book they had found at the library.

The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan

During World War II, Oak Ridge, Tennessee; was home to over 75,00 people, used more electricity than New York City, and was shrouded in mystery.

What?

What was happening there? Why was it secret? Not even the workers knew what they were doing or “making”, as no product even seemed to come out.

Help me! I’m confused!

Women from all over the country came fresh out of high school, right out of college, when they had nothing, as a last resort, etc. These women enjoyed making their own money, living on their own, etc.

The book chronicles different women: races, to areas of the country, ages, etc; and gives each one’s story from when they start at Oak Ridge to when they close the city down.

Hmm…

Between the stories of the women there are the classified documents of the government and it shows the other side of the scientists who actually knew what was going on.

It turned out that all these men and women in Oak Ridge were helping build the atomic bomb, although none of them even knew it.

I didn’t really care for this book, and neither did my fellow book club members.

We all loved the parts about the women and their life stories. It was really interesting how they built this community, friendships, were willing to leave everything behind to work at Oak Ridge, etc.

One of the best parts was when one of the workers was dating a military man. She had to wait in line to buy everything, and because there was so many people and only so many supplies, if you didn’t get there early enough then you got nothing.

Her boyfriend used to get her soap and other important toiletries- something she found incredibly romantic as it saved her so much time. I thought it was super romantic as well!

*swoon*

Or the one woman who’s boyfriend kept asking her to marry him, but she would say no as she didn’t want to get married. He stopped asking her, and it upset her, so she told him to ask her one more time. It was really cute.

And there was another story about an African-American woman who used to have the guards bully her when she went to visit her husband (men and women lived in separate areas). One day she ran into some workers getting rid of some extra metal-something that was perfect to be a biscuit tin. After that she would make biscuits for her husband and give some to the guard-winning him over with her excellent cooking.

However, what we didn’t like was all the technical stuff about the atomic bomb. The way it kept switching back and forth was confusing and brought you out of the women’s stories.

That part was really boring as well.

It really brought the book down and I was the only one who was able to power through it.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: A Wrinkle in Time

For more non-fiction books, go to Book Club Picks: Sandcastle Kings

For more on atomic weapons, go to A Giant Metal Man: The Iron Giant (1995)

Darcy’s Dream Date

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet (1940)

In Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy has very particular guidelines as to who the perfect woman is. The perfect (accomplished) woman is one who has

“a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, to deserve the word; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will be but half deserved.’ Caroline Bingley…’All this she must possess,’ added Darcy, ‘and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.”

After reviewing this statement I have discovered that I am Mr. Darcy’s perfect woman.

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1)Knowledge of Music

I grew up in a musical house, although I cannot play any one instrument profusely. Here are some of my musical accomplishments.

  • The Afoxé: I love this instrument and have been playing it my whole life.
  • The Piano: I know how to play Hot Cross BunsRugrats Theme, and Chopsticks.
  • The Recorder: This is the instrument that I am best in. I learned how to play the Star Wars Theme, Hot Cross Buns, Three Blind Mice, Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me), and every song from Disney’s Pocahontas.
  • The Guitar: I know one very old hymn.

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2) Singing

I have sung my whole life. I absolutely love to sing along to anything playing that I know. I was in many musicals in high school; having little solos. The only bad thing is that I have an alto voice, which has never been prided on. Everyone always prefers sopranos in women. At least I have Motown to fall back on. Motown cannot be sung right by a soprano, they are just not able to belt out the tunes.

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3) Drawing

I took painting and drawing classes for two years before I switched to photography. Now I am not one of those geniuses who can draw or paint a perfect image from memory, but I do extremely well at drawing if I can see the image I am trying to sketch. Painting, I only do well at watercolors, or objects such as a room, plate, frame, etc. I also do very well in pastels and chalk. Cartooning is another thing I do well, as you don’t have to apply to realistic proportions. My main forte is in decoupage, collaging, and photography.

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4) Dancing

I am not the world’s best dancer, but my biggest strength is that I am a fast learner, and can be taught dance moves quickly. However I have been trained in certain areas.

  • Waltz: I learned this from the Sleeping Beauty’s collector edition DVD. It was very easy to learn
  • Thriller: Love the song and know almost the whole dance.
  • Flashdance: I know the whole dance, but am not as good as her.
  • Ballet: Was in a class for a few days before I transferred out, I was put there by accident. However, what I learned there will forever remain in my mind.
  • The Time Warp: Such a fun song!
  • Bollywood: I watch a lot and love to dance along.
  • Mash Potato: Such fun!
  • The Twist: Who doesn’t like to twist?
  • Square Dancing: A fun requirement everyone has to learn.
  • Line-Dancing: I love all types of music, country being one of them.
  • West Coast Swing: Unfortunately there weren’t enough guys so I learned the guy’s part instead of the girls.
  • Breakfast Club Dance: Not only can I do the feet thing, but I have Ally Sheedy’s dance down.
  • MC Hammer: Only Can’t Touch This, and not even all of that.

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5) Modern Languages

I wish I knew more languages fluently, but alas I am only bilingual (and even that some may not count.)

  • Fluent American: Not the same as English as we have a mix of slang from many different cultures and word’s that have multitude of meanings.
  •  Fluent English: I know the proper and elegant way to word things, along with a lot of English slang.
  • Some Spanish: My family is part hispanic and I have taken three years of spanish class. I know how to introduce myself (Me llamo es), say where I am from (Yo soy de), if I want to go somewhere (Yo voy, tu vas, nosotros vamos…), how to ask for things (puedo por favor; donde esta…), help (ayudame), the weather, how to say I am hurt or injured, can count etc…
  • Smattering of French: I know how to say hello, good-bye (five different ways), and a few other things.
  • Sign Language: I know quite a few words and the whole alphabet.
  • Danish: A few words here and there

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5) Something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions

Got all those covered. Everything in my manner of doing things always brings support to what I am talking about.

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6) Extensive Reading

This is where I fit the bill most of all. I have been reading since I was a small child, and I READ ALL THE  TIME. I am never without a book, and devour them extremely fast, no matter the length. In fact I meet my goal of reading 365 books this year a couple of weeks ago. And I love to read EVERYTHING! Mystery, classics, sci-fi, horror, romance, historical fiction, non-fiction, biography, westerns, plays, novels, etc. I love the library, that spend as much free time there possible. One of my favorite things is to just go through the stacks and look at all the different books, choosing which I think will be best. I have too many favorite books and authors that I just can’t pick one. I really want a library like in Beauty and the Beast or The Swan Princess. I mean if Darcy has asked me to marry him in his rude, conceited way that first time; I would have considered saying yes because I would know he would have a fantastic library.

diewithbooks

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7) Embroidery

I know that this isn’t technically something that Darcy said was attractive in a woman, but it was something that most people valued a woman knowing back then. I only know hand sewing, and that in itself is mostly subjects related to patching; but I embroider like a boss. I have been doing it ever since I was a kid, amd enjoy it immensely.

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8) Cooking

Yes, I know. Only poor women or domestic help cooked at that time, but I’m proud of the fact that I am an extremely good cook. I can make anything, as long as I have a recipe, and am not daunted at trying new things. And for all the modern men out there, I make the best sandwiches out of every person I know. My older sister and I used to kid that I would make one very lucky guy extremely happy with that talent.

Well with all these accomplishments; along with filling many others that we value today, what guy wouldn’t want me? LOL

To see what you get go here

To see what you get go here

How many of you out there also fit the bill for Darcy’s Dream Date?

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For more on Mr. Darcy, go to Mr. Darcy: Man of Dream
For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to Flirting With Disaster
For more bookish posts, go to Never an Empty Bed
For more quizzes, go to By George He’s Perfect
For more on my thoughts of music, go to On the 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, & 1st Days ‘Til Christmas
For more of my favorite quotes, go to Novel vs. Reality