Saturday, August 16, 2014

Progress on my Scarf and Sampler!

Scarf completed with the fuzzy mixed color yarn and the Hannah silks in hand painted soft greens and rose, and dark blood red.  It's as long as down to my knees once it's been wrapped around my neck a couple of times!  I love it!  Light weight and light yarns for Florida living...

This is an update of my "Plantation" sampler.  I haven't stitched a lot on it, but have continued to work the verse and am continuing the rose border above.  I stitched quite a ways on the yellow zigzag, as well.  It continues to be laborious for me because of the size, but I pulled out a frame that  you sit on that holds the hoop, and that worked best of anything I've tried, yet.  My difficulty really lies in the fact that I can't see as well as I used to so I have to be situated to see the linen in the magnifying light.  I enlarged the chart enough that I don't have a problem looking at it anymore.
I've been putting some of my needlepoint mostly hand painted canvases on eBay the last couple of days.  Lots of work!  I used to have a needlepoint shop, so there are lots of canvases here...too many for me ever to finish.  I hope I get some luck selling them on eBay.  I'm "cabbagerose2012" on there.
Here's a picture of a couple of them:
(This one isn't hand painted!)

(This one is hand painted)
I'm finding I'm going to have to get a better light for photographing them...  But of the ten I posted, I have bids on about 5 of them.  So, I'm happy with that for a start.  They will be running to begin with for 5 days.  I'll be posting more later this week.  Some Christmas...

Nothing much going on other than this little bit of stitching, working on eBay and some reading.  I'm still trying to get through JoJo Moyes's "Me, Before You."  I'm finding it slow and having a hard time understanding why everyone has loved it so much!!  But, for the sake of those who have...I'm mustering on. 

I've been listening to "A Feast for Crows: A Song of Ice and Fire" by George R.R. Martin of "The Game of Thrones" fame on audiobook.  It's wonderful.  Highly recommend it to his fans.  Can't wait for the new season on HBO.

I'll be skipping around this week seeing some of you on Facebook, and others of you on your blogs!

Happy Stitching!


Friday, August 8, 2014

Back to Stitching After 5 Years Away!!

Not a great picture, but at least a fairly recent one of me with that little book character my granddaughter sent for a trip to Naples!! Can't remember his name. LOL   I've lost 13 lbs. since this picture, thank God!  I'm doing Jenny Craig.

Have you wondered where I've been?  I've been writing a book review blog for the last 6 years or so, and sadly neglecting my stitching.  Then, about two months ago, I took a notion to pick a couple of things up again and I'm off!  I'm really rusty.  Need all the help and suggestions I can get.  Everything feels awkward.  I can't seem to find where to put my arms and elbows!  But I figure with a little time, it will all come back to me.

I hesitate to take any pictures of anything to show you where I am on a WIP since it's been forever!!  But I'll show you what I've been working on, below:

This is The Plantation Sampler which I still haven't gotten very far on.  It's big and difficult to hold, so I'm having some trouble with it.  I had it on stretcher bars, but seem to do better with it just "in hand" or on a large hoop.  Because of my recent brain tumor and my fading eyesight, it's not easy for me to look back and forth between the pattern and the linen, but I'm working with it.  It's good therapy for me.  And, I love it.   I'm open to any suggestions to help it work better for me.  I'm using a standing mag. light which really is wonderful and makes a difference.

These are, of course, a couple of Santas I stitched for Christmas but never got finished.  I'm afraid of finishing.  Finishing phobia.  I always tend to ruin things when I try.  So, I figure I'll stitch a bunch of them and take them to my local needlework shop one of these days...or send them off to one of you with a big bribe!!

A needlepoint piece I've been working on, on and off for a while.  It's nearly finished.  It's a faux Matisse.  I think I'll just frame it.  I need to do some boring outlining, add some beads and silk to the flowers, and finish the browns.  I'm leaving the table rough canvas to seem like wicker. Should be nice in my little French stitching room which is mostly yellow and pinks.

I don't even know if you can see this...I'm making a very long, segmented, funky scarf.  This is just the first two and a bit sections.  I'm using Hannah silk for that hand-painted section in pale green with a touch of rose, and yellow, and I'll be putting in another Hannah silk in the burgundy colors of the shaggy yarn.  Rotating colors and yarn textures.  I'll post more pics as I go along so it makes sense.  Since it's still warm here even in the winter, this is just meant to be a decorative, wrap around the neck thingie for fun.  The air conditioning gets very cool in restaurants at night.

And, last...I have looked for YEARS for a frog for my scissors, and finally found a lovely little ceramic one at an antique shop yesterday.  It's hard to get a close up, but I hope you get the feeling of it.  I have more scissors in a keepsake box, and hope I'll be lucky enough to find a glass frog one of these days.  Meanwhile, I like this one very much!

So, that's all I have to share in pictures of what I've been doing lately.  Please stop by and see me as I try to make some progress on my sampler.  I'm also going to pick up one of my Quaker samplers, as well.  I love Quakers...still have work to do on Ackworth's Beatrix Potter and a couple of others.

If you'd care to take a peek at my book review blog you can find it at:

Thanks for stopping.  Please leave me a note so I can follow you, too!



Thursday, May 24, 2012

"50 Shades of Grey" ~Guest Post: "If I Write It, They Will Read It" by Jessica Magill

Traditionally, I don’t read romance novels. I certainly don’t read erotic romance, and when 50 Shades of Grey was mentioned to me, I immediately brushed it off as a cheap and tacky Twilight rip off. I read a lot, every day in fact, and am interested in many subjects. I am not the squeamish type, and the more daring and unconventional, the more interested I am. I am an unabashed reader.

This novel piqued my interest when my mother mentioned it and warned me against it!

I found out that it was about a college-aged girl who falls in love..with a Dominant, or so it was explained to me. I am not your run of the mill "reader," I have a Bachelor’s Degree in English, and read fiction like an English teacher. I always try and look beyond the "cover," read between the lines, understand all the layers of meaning.

However, the cover of "50 Shades of Grey" immediately drew me in. It is beautiful, haunting, dark, and mysterious. I like the shimmer in the tie. The simplicity of the cover, the single subject, the tie against the opaque background; chic and sophisticated. The cover shows sharp contrasts of color dark and light, grey and black, the focus, simple and strong. Really hadn't jumped out at me from the shelves, though. But, of course I had to find it after being told about its general subject matter. Can’t be that bad if Target is carrying it, right?

I picked up the book, and read the back, feeling rebellious, cutting edge, and a bit naughty. Expectant and anxious, I was drawn in, and within 10 minutes purchased the book. Now, you readers, if you are here in my review, you too have decided to read on. Are you curious too? Curiosity is the bait. I am hooked.

E.L. James is brilliant. She hooked me, just as Christian hooks the main character Anastasia Steele. Once you are hooked, you are compelled to keep reading. "Ana" the protagonist, is curious and astute, educated and independent, and at a crossroads in her life, when she unwittingly interviews Christian Grey for her roommate, who needs the article for the school newspaper.
Begrudgingly, Ana goes in place of her roommate to interview Mr. Grey. 
This simple act of kindness, to "save" her friend from not meeting a deadline, changes Ana’s life. It’s funny how one seemingly mundane event which doesn’t have to be a milestone or a celebration, can change your perspective and take you to a place you never thought you would be, ever .

James slowly wraps the reader in, just as Ana is slowly wrapped in to a relationship with Christian. She lulls you into a sense of false security, leads you to read more, want more, creates a strong justification to you the reader, that you are just "finding out what happens." Just as soon as I was reaching a point of disdain, in that I was predicting the future of this couple, James shocks me with an unexpected twist. Again, I am intrigued, and don’t want to be wrong, I need to keep guessing. What happens to Ana? I am in it now. Just like Ana.

James writes the novel from Ana’s perspective. The commentary is in the first person, and although you may not relate to Ana’s situation, there is something about her that is relatable to all women. She's curious, she's strong, she is willing, and a loyal friend. Aren’t these the very characteristics that we cherish as women? These are the very characteristics that work both in Ana’s favor, and against her. Ana is shrewd, or so she thinks. Ana likes the volley back and forth with Christian. She pushes and pulls, teases and flirts, is confident and insecure. She is both intrigued and wary of Christian; he is an enigma. Much about the thoughts Ana has is relatable to all women. I understand why Ana finds Christian alluring. I find him alluring, too.. he is the ultimate modern bad boy. It seems that both the people and things that scare us a little often intrigues us, and keep us wanting more. 

E.L. James keeps Ana's and Christian’s relationship tense and sweet. I found myself asking the same questions Ana does, feeling the same way she does. Ana is an innocent; naive, but not ignorant. She, like so many of us, is swept away in love and lust. As hard as she tries to rationalize the relationship she has with Christian, her emotions get the best of her, and
she maintains her emotional connection and even deepens it with him.

Ana is a realistic. To me, her actions and emotions are genuine. James’s gives her life, makes her a sympathetic character. Similarly, Christian is not someone that I have ever known in real life, but his caricature is. I have wondered many times if what people look like on the exterior matches who they are on the interior. Christian is a modern Heathcliff~brooding, dark and dangerous. He has secrets that keep him locked in his own world. The question is, can Ana unlock them? Or not?
Thus, the quest Ms James entices us to keep on.

"50 Shades Grey" has been touted as "Mommy Porn." Yes, the sex scenes are raw and descriptive, but if you are an adult woman, you can handle it. To me, they are not the focus of this intense novel. It is the relationship between Christian and Ana. Their relationship parallels the dominant submissive sex scenes throughout the novel.

I often asked myself through the novel, who is the dominant?

Is it really Christian? Or is it Ana? 

Sting says it so beautifully in the lyrics to his song, Wrapped Around Your Finger, "when you find your servant is your master." It is always a paradox, isn’t it? In a split second the position of power can shift, leaving the master the servant and vice versa. I don’t find these scenes offensive. They are intended to be graphic, intense, and peircing. If James had written these scenes in a less intensive way, I as the reader would be less likely to believe them. I read through the scenes, and moved on. To me, in this day and age, like it or not, these scenes are shocking but not outrageous. If the reader makes this the focus of the novel they will lose the beauty of the story as a whole.

In conclusion, I loved the book" 50 Shades of Grey." Shocked?

I have since bought the next two books in the series. I understand why women and men all over the world love this series. It is fresh, exciting, dark, and engaging. Ana and Christian are just as real to the audience as Bella and Edward are to "Twi hard" fans. Move over twi-hards! There’s a new couple in town, and they are here to stay. If you haven’t gone to get your copy of" 50 Shades...," you better go now! These books are flying off the shelves faster than the stores can keep them ordered.

I believe this series will be discussed for years to come. It's a literary phenomena.

You may just want to take a chance to peek at it. You may want to open Pandora's box. You won’t be disappointed, I promise. Aren’t you curious?

Written by Jessica Magill
Guest Writer for A Bookish Libraria

May 24, 2012

"I Couldn't Love You More" by Jillian Medoff~Family Saga for Book Groups!

Being a step-mother has its pitfalls on a normal day, but being one when the chips are down is even more difficult. In "I Couldn't Love You More," Eliot Gordon, referred to as the motherly "good one" by her sisters, loves her "steps" like her own children, but she's often stonewalled as so many caring step-mothers are. In this close monologue of a book, we find out a good deal about mothering, how "Sophie" may have made her choice and why we take the roads in life we do. This is a passionate book that calls to the mother and the fallible in all of us. Read it and weep. I did. A book to share with your friends, mom, sisters and book group. This one will have you talking to yourself, so you'll need a friend to share it with. You may have to buy two copies at one time!!

The book is published by: Grand Central Publishing/Hachette and is written by Jillian Medoff. You may find it at Barnes & Noble and at Amazon
There are more than 400 pages to this book.
You may also want to visit the author's website here:

Summary :

Which child would you save? A decision no parent can even fathom.
Eliot Gordon would do anything for her family. A 38-year-old working mother, she lives an ordinary but fulfilling life in suburban Atlanta with her partner, Grant Delaney, and their three daughters. The two older girls are actually Eliot's stepdaughters, a distinction she is reluctant to make as she valiantly attempts to maintain a safe, happy household . . .
Then Finn Montgomery, Eliot's long-lost first love, appears, triggering a shocking chain of events that culminates in a split-second decision that will haunt her beloved family forever. How Eliot survives-and what she loses in the process-is a story that will resonate with anyone who has ever loved a child. With hilarious honesty, wrenching depth, and a knockout twist, I COULDN'T LOVE YOU MORE illuminates the unbreakable bonds of family and reveals the lengths we'll go to save each other, even as we can't save ourselves.

Please take a moment to view this book trailer ~

Who Is Jillian Medoff ?
Jillian Medoff's bitterly funny, shocking third novel, I Couldn't Love You More, will be available from Grand Central Publishing in 2012. She is the acclaimed author of Hunger Point and Good Girls Gone Bad, both of which received surprisingly great reviews (surprising to her). A huge seller in the US, Hunger Point was the basis for the original Lifetime movie starring Barbara Hershey and Christina Hendricks (Mad Men). Although Jillian is proud of Hunger Point, had anyone asked, she would not have selected such a bright pink (any pink, frankly) for the trade paperback edition. Her books have been translated into many different languages, including French, Spanish, Hebrew, Turkish, Hungarian, Japanese (abridged), Polish, and German (forthcoming).
The eldest daughter of a traveling salesman, Jillian moved 17 times by age 17, ultimately ending up in Atlanta, where her new novel is set. She has a BA from Barnard and an MFA from NYU, and is grateful for having studied with such luminary writers as Mona Simpson, Jonathan Dee, Robert Coover, and Alice Walker. She also attended Master Classes with Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates, and Grace Paley. Although these authors continue to influence her work in powerful and diverse ways, she suspects few of them, if any, remember her. A former fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Blue Mountain Center, VCCA and Fundacion Valparaiso in Spain, Jillian taught at NYU and the University of Georgia, but for only, like, five minutes. She currently lives in New York with her family, and has no plans to move anytime soon.

The Dame's Review :
I have been reading " I Couldn't Love You More" for over a week. This is very unusual for me. I just had to savor every word of it. I had to take time to take it all in. Like a delicious Godiva truffle, I wanted to take my time to chew over what Jillian Medoff was "saying." This is an extraordinary piece of literature. It's one that warrants such time-taking. It's a book I wanted to cherish and reread, personally. It may be one of those "nightstand" books because I'd like to keep opening it to passages to think on again and again. This may give you some idea of the quality of Ms Medoff's writing.
I'm not surprised she worked under and studied with some of the finest authors of our times...
it shows up in her work.
I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't do some influencing herself.

The book also meant a great deal to me as a mother and step-mother. Her ability to translate this very delicate balance of love and responsibility,
of wanting to be loved and wanting to do what's right is just masterful.
Her telling of that risk of giving it all in mothering for what may be receiving little or no return in the long run is what each of us mothers understands...but it's more so for step-moms.
The risks in this book are just staggering. And they kept me nailed to the novel mind and spirit.
At last, I thought, someone gets it down on paper.

I write notes about books as I read them, and I read without reading any reviews or summaries of my books if I can help it. In this case, I kept things to a minimum. So one of my notes to myself was about Sophie's choice. Yes, there is that happenstance in this book and it's as horrifying here and as smashing of lives as you can imagine. The dysfunction of families, and the particular dynamics of three significantly different sisters (all playing their Shakespearean roles) is hilarious enough to break the underlying tensions. But, these are not the only things that captured me about this novel.

Primarily, and in addition to what I've already said about the mothering, I was captivated by its quality of voice. That's a rare thing to me. To so clearly hear the author's voice was stunning. It was hypnotic. It felt as if I were sitting on the sofa of my very best friend and she was telling me her life story. I felt I was hearing her secrets; her intimate thoughts and feelings that she kept inside but was now sharing with me.

This book begins in a sort of monologue. At least, to me there was little dialog.
This sort of thing is ordinarily not appealing to me. But, as I said, it was simply golden in Jillian Medoff's hands. To this day I'm in awe of that.
As I write this, I wonder if my readers will even comprehend how something can be told without an emphasis on dialog and be so powerful and absorbing to the reader!
It would be redundant to tell you what "I Couldn't Love You More" is "about," so I won't do that. Only, I will say it is such a beautifully created story of love and sacrifice and redemption. I thought Jillian Medoff's quote of a Willa Cather saying was significant in the beginning of her book:
" There are only one or two human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before."

This is one of those tellings of one of those lives and times. It may be we've all experienced much of what Ms Medoff describes in her story. It may be this that makes it so relavant and so poinant. And, it's a profound and wonderful telling.
I hope you get your own copy to read and share. You can never have mine...
5 stars


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Darkroom" by Joshua Graham~Thriller! Giveaway!!

Dark, deceptive, political intrigue and ghostly images...all this and more await the eager reader who loves a thriller and a mystery in "Darkroom." I lived through the Viet Nam War era, but don't recall having read a single suspense novel that has its focus around the Vietnam cross-culture that made its way to the US. This book is unique in many ways. It has a bit of everything to recommend it: love, mystery, conspiracy, family connections to ancient times and places, politics, terrorism and murder; not to mention the Viet Nam War and the vets that brought home not only images, but other baggage, and loved ones. A must read, this book is fast moving, intriguing and beautifully written to tantalize! Joshua Graham is a fantastic writer who knows when to dangle the carrot and when to pull it back. I loved the whole reading process! His characters are rich in detail, lovable, sad, frightening and strangely familiar. I was literally up all night reading "Darkroom" having such a good time in the process. I couldn't put it down... If you've ever been placed in the moral dilemma of wondering whether you should tell the truth and risk it all, you'll love this book. If you've ever wondered if there are conspiracies and cover ups in political arenas we aren't privy to, you'll love this book... I have to give it a solid...
5 stars!!

Published by: Howard Books/Simon and Schuster
Visit Mr. Graham's website here:
Also see his blog at:

Quick Overview of "Darkroom":

After scattering her mother’s ashes in Vietnam, photojournalist Xandra Carrick comes home to New York to rebuild her life and career. When she experiences supernatural visions that reveal atrocities perpetrated by American soldiers during the Vietnam War, she finds herself entangled in a forty-year-old conspiracy that could bring the nation into political turmoil.
Launching headlong into a quest to learn the truth from her father, Peter Carrick, a Pulitzer Prize Laureate who served as an embedded photographer during the war, Xandra confronts him about a dark secret he has kept–one that has devastated their family.
Her investigations lead her to her departed mother’s journal, which tell of love, spiritual awakening, and surviving the fall of Saigon.
Pursued across the continent, Xandra comes face-to-face with powerful forces that will stop at nothing to prevent her from revealing the truth. But not before government agencies arrest her for murder, domestic terrorism and an assassination attempt on the newly elected president of the United States.
Darkroom is a riveting tale of suspense that tears the covers off the human struggle for truth in a world imprisoned by lies.

About Joshua Graham :

WINNER OF 2011 INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARDS, and Barnes & Noble #1 bestselling author Joshua Graham’s novel BEYOND JUSTICE is taking the world by storm, one reader at a time. Many of his readers blame him for sleepless nights, arriving to work late, neglected dishes and family members, and not allowing them to put the book down.
Suspense Magazine listed BEYOND JUSTICE in its BEST OF 2010, alongside titles by Scott Turrow, Ted Dekker, Steven James and Brad Thor.
His short story THE DOOR’S OPEN won the HarperCollins Authonomy Competition (Christmas 2010.)
Publishers Weekly described BEYOND JUSTICE as: “A riveting legal thriller…breaking new ground with a vengeance…demonically entertaining and surprisingly inspiring.”
Joshua Graham grew up in Brooklyn, NY where he lived for the better part of 30 years. He holds a Bachelor and Master’s Degree and went on to earn his doctorate from Johns Hopkins University. During his time in Maryland, he taught as a professor at Shepherd College (WV), Western Maryland College, and Columbia Union College (MD).
Today he lives with his beautiful wife and children in Southern California. Several of Graham’s short fiction works have been published by Pocket Books and Dawn Treader Press.
Writing under the pen name Ian Alexander, Graham debuted with his first Epic Fantasy novel ONCE WE WERE KINGS, an Amazon #1 Bestseller in multiple categories and Award-Winning Finalist in the SciFi/Fantasy category of The USA “Best Books 2011″ Awards, as well as an Award-Winning Finalist in the Young Adult Fiction category of The USA “Best Books 2011″ Awards, and an Award Winner in the 2011 Forward National Literature Awards in the Teen/Young Adult category. ONCE WE WERE KINGS is available in ebook and hardcover editions.
Look for his next Suspense/Thriller DARKROOM (Simon & Schuster/Howard Books) to be released May 1, 2012!
For Film Rights Josh is represented by UNITED TALENT AGENCY. Please use the CONTACT button on this website for all inquiries.
You can visit his website at

A Bookish Libraria is pleased to be on the virtual book publicity tour for Mr. Graham sponsored by Pump Up Your Books. To find out more about the GIVEAWAY, please go to this site:
and search for "Darkroom"

Thanks for stopping by! Deborah/TheBookishDame

Monday, May 14, 2012

"The Last Romanov" by Dora Levy Mossanen~A Fabulous Historical Fiction!

So very gorgeously written, so descriptive and rich in history, this book is unbelievably special. I was sunk from the beginning...and I had so much to do this Mother's Day weekend! Sumptuous writing, so gaudy with lush descriptions of Romanovs, their homes and sycophants that my head was swimming
as if I'd drunk too much Massandra wine from one of the Tsar's seaside estates.
I was spun back in time to the Palaces with the little witch Darya Spiridova, nanny/aunt to the precious Tsarevich before he and his family were killed.
Or, was he killed with his family? That's the mystery of "The Last Romanov," that and what true place did Darya play in the unfolding horror and redemption of the past.
Floating back and forth in time over a span of 80-some years, we are tossed through a magnificent
time of war and peace. Dora Levy Mossanen is a tour guide like none other as she finely details all manner of things,
lending an authenticity to her story that brings chills of delight to a reader of historical fiction.
She is quite painterly in her art of writing.
Historical details are impeccable and gave the reading another pleasurable dimension.
I was unaware, for instance, but loved finding out, that Empress Alexandra's favorite fragrance was
Rose Blanche.
This book ended for me with a sigh. I had such reluctance to let it go.
I know all of you who love historical fiction will just die for it.
5 luscious stars on a diamond encrusted tray, and a pinch of Ambergris for fragrance!

Particulars of the Book:
Published by ~ Sourcebooks
Pages ~ About 354
Genre ~ Historical Fiction


She was an orphan, ushered into the royal palace on
the prayers of her majesty. Yet, decades later, her time
spent in the embrace of the Romanovs haunts her still. Is she
responsible for those murderous events that changed everything?
If only she can find the heir, maybe she can put together the
broken pieces of her own past—maybe she can hold on to
the love she found. Bursting to life with the rich and glorious
marvels of Imperial Russia, The Last Romanov is a magical tale
of second chances and royal blood.

A Little Something About This Amazing Author :

Dora Levy Mossanen was born in Israel as the country was gaining its independence and moved to Iran with her family when she was nine years old. After living in Israel, where female soldiers wore shorts and carried Uzis, she had a difficult time adjusting to Iranian culture, which required women to conceal themselves under chadors. The first days of her arrival coincided with the 1953 coup of Dr. Mossadegh when the Shah fled to Italy. Streets brimmed with demonstrators, supporting Dr. Mossadegh and dragging down statues of Mohammad Reza Shah. And the very next day, portraits of the Shah were displayed again and blaring microphones announced his return. These were her first experiences in a country of contradictions, a culture rich in legend, mythology, folklore, and superstition.

Her family’s roots go back 2,500 years in Persia, where her first inspiration and invaluable source of history was her grandfather, Doctor Habib Levy, a renowned historian. Dr. Levy introduced Dora to life in Mahaleh, the Jewish ghetto, to the horrors of anti-Semitism, and to the challenges of being Jewish in a Moslem country. The Islamic Revolution of 1979, the fall of the Shah, and arrival of the Ayatollah Khomeini forced Mossanen and her family to leave Iran. They settled in Los Angeles, California and became part of what is now the largest Iranian community in the United States.

Despite being married, raising two daughters, and facing great opposition, Ms. Mossanen went back to school, causing another mini revolution—this one in her own home. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of California Los Angeles and a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Southern California.

Dora is the bestselling author of the widely acclaimed novels Harem and Courtesan, which have been translated into numerous languages, and is the recipient of the prestigious San Diego Editor’s Choice Award. She blogs for Huffington Post, reviews fiction for the Jewish Journal, and has been featured in various publications.

I hope you'll take time to visit Ms Mossanen's website and blog. Fascinating! You'll love her book...promise.

Thanks for stopping by.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Plethora of Mother's Day Gifts! Deborah Batterman & Matt Hammitt

Summary: In the same manner as touching picture books like bestsellers Let Me Hold You Longer and Love You Forever, I Couldn't Love You More tells a sweet, loving, yet powerful message: I couldn’t love you more, but there is someone who does. Through the unique relationship of adorable animals, the book shares that Christ is always with you and he loves you more than you can imagine. This engaging picture book combines lovable and irresistible images with the lyrics from the song (co-written by Jason Ingram and Matt Hammitt). Matt is lead vocalist for Sanctus Real, a Grammy-nominated Christian rock band. The song is on Hammitt’s latest album, Every Fallen Tear. When Matt and his wife, Sarah, were halfway through her pregnancy, they discovered their son would be born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), a rare congenital defect. Matt and Sarah’s son, Bowen, was born on 9/9/10 and received a huge following through the Hammitt’s blog (, K-LOVE, and ABC News. A portion of the proceeds from the book goes to the foundation the Hammitts’ have started to help parents with children who have this heart condition.

Particlars of the book:
Publisher~Tyndale House Publishers
Genre~ Children's Fiction/Christian/Inspirational

About the Author :

Matt Hammitt is the lead singer and a founding member of the band Sanctus Real. Over the past decade, the Grammy nominated, Dove Award–winning group has released five albums and has topped the Christian radio charts with fourteen No. 1 and Top 5 radio hits.
In 2010, Matt and his wife, Sarah, found out they were expecting their third child. Already the parents of two young daughters, Emmerson and Claire, they were looking forward to an ultrasound that would reveal whether they were having a boy or a girl. "We found out it was a boy, and we were all celebrating," Matt recalls. "But only a few minutes later the doctor came in and told us that things weren't right, that half of the baby's heart wasn't developed. At that time, they didn't think he would survive."
Diagnosed with Hypoplastic left heart syndrome, little Bowen, whose name means "small, victorious one," defied the odds and survived. But it hasn't been an easy road for Matt and his family. Following Bowen's birth, Matt and Sarah watched their newborn son endure two open-heart surgeries, and they spent more than three months by his bedside at Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Matt and Sarah have shared the pain, as well as the joy, of their journey with others through their blog,, which has received more than one million hits to date. Sarah says, "God clearly has His hand in all of this. Our family has been called to walk through this, and we will do our best, even though it's going to be really rough at times."
"Everything I've watched happen in the hospital—all the pain I've felt—is deepening my faith, strengthening my marriage, and molding my character," Matt says. "Out of what appeared to be a well of emptiness has flowed a fountain of purpose." Matt's album Every Falling Tear, released in 2011, was born out of the heart of a father wrestling with his pain but buoyed by his faith and his love for his family. I Couldn't Love You More is one of the songs on the album. It expresses a parent's desire to share Christ's unconditional love with his child. A portion of the proceeds from both Matt's album and this book will be given to support the Whole Hearts Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded by the Hammitts that is dedicated to helping families with children suffering from congenital heart defects. Matt says, "We've met so many families like us whose children are suffering, and they are looking for hope. It has become our mission to help them find it."
Find out more about Sanctus Real at: and their blog at:

The Dame's Nutshell Review:
This is a darling book with the most beautiful of illustrations. I wish I had a copy for every single one of my 7 little grands to keep on their bedside tables. The message of Jesus's love and His never leaving them whether day or night is such a comfort. I know my grands would all be happy to be reminded that someone else loves them much more even than their devoted parents and grandparents!
Matt Hammitt, and illstrator Polona Lovsin have worked together to bring a stunning little book to life with the collaboration of songwriter, producer and artist, Jason Ingram's input.
I have always loved the simple and profound messages of their books, but this one is a stand-out!
I highly recommend it, not just for children with disabilities and those who suffer with hospitalizations, but for all children in all situations.
It's a perfect book for anytime and anywhere.

5 sparkling stars...


Short Stories Choice of the Month

With poignancy and humor, Deborah Batterman reminds us in these brief, linked essays that every mother is a daughter, too. The insights she brings to simple acts – looking at old photographs, recalling the smells and tastes of her mother’s cooking, making her daughter’s bed or shopping with her – are as beautifully rendered as they are profound.

About the Author:
A native New Yorker, Deborah Batterman has worked over the years as a writer, editor, and teaching artist. A story from her debut collection, SHOES HAIR NAILS (Uccelli Press, 2006; digital edition, 2010), was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her stories have appeared in anthologies as well as various print and online journals, and she recently completed a novel.

Find Deborah on her blog at:

Let The Dame Have Her Say :

Deborah Batterman is a woman who knows the intricacies of writing well. She is a writer who can take apart a piece of story like boning a fish, bit by tiny bit, and come out with a delicacy. I love her body of work. It's a delight to read, and I wonder when some major publisher is going to discover her and put her all over the book shelves in every major city across the country. For now, any of us can read her work by finding her on Barnes & Noble for a song. Lucky for us!

In "Because My Name Is Mother," Deborah has highlighted the dark and the light sides of motherhood. It's a retrospective story making of the push-pull we all probably feel about our own mothers; i.e., that sense of loving them, and at the same time feeling a sort of jealousy or resentment toward them. And, if not a resentment, an awe of the mystique of them on some level. The power of motherhood is addressed in Deborah's short stories, as is the personal weaknesses of women who are mothers. And all this is done with such brilliance and poignancy, we can't help being touched with memory and the madness, and the awareness of our own roles as mothers.

I'm a huge fan of Batterman's work. I have to stop by her blog fairly often just to get my dosage of her writing and wisdom. She's an amazing artist. She's also one of those who actually sees and interprets the world around her on a regular basis. That's a gift, which makes her a gifted writer.

I loved the second story in this collection, for instance, of her showing her grown daughter by example that it's good to enjoy the moment, to take time to distance oneself from busy-ness when having a moment's pleasure and "relaxation" in a manicure and pedicure salon...putting away cell phones, magazines, etc., to enjoy the moment. She writes of not telling her daughter, but showing by her own choices, and realizing that her daughter might at some time find the way by her example...or not. That's motherhood at it's most mature.

Let me encourage you to purchase this volume of short stories today or anytime. "Because My Name Is Mother" is a book you'll be reading and passing on to your mother and friends...

5 stars