Sunday, January 3, 2016

A book review, and a little news.

 Quote: Better things to come along.
I'm kicking off the year with a review: The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd.
 A classic read. 4 stars.

I found the Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd, to be an intriguing, insightful and enjoyable read, written in a unique style. As we focused up close, I got a glimpse into those lazy, Southern ways with life in South Carolina. It had transported me back to the 60’s era, to an important and interesting time in American history, concerning the change that came among the desegregation period.

Lily, brought up on a peach-farm, neglected by her father, believes she has killed her mother by accident. However, she remains unsure about what actually happened on that day, being only four years old. Throughout the story, she yearns for her mother, and subconsciously she is in search to know more about her. We also hear the story through Lily’s POV, as a fourteen year old. She decides to run away to escape her cold hearted father. She takes nothing with her but a tiny box, with items of her mother. Among the items is a photo of a Black Madonna. On the back of the photo are the words, Tiburon, South Carolina. The black servant, Rosaleen, hired to look after Lily, decides to go with her. When they pass through town, Rosaleen, attempts to place in her right to vote for the first time, with the passing of the civil rights act, but finds herself in conflict with some boys she spits at, who are racist. Trouble stirs, and Rosaleen faces jail. Lily finds a way to have her set free, and they make a run for it.

They both end up on a beekeepers sanctuary, managed by these black sisters, who each have interesting characters. They take Lily, a white girl, and Rosaleen in. Through the wise, nurturing qualities of the sister’s, Lily, in time, feels like family and opens up to tell the sisters what happened to her mother. To Lily’s surprise, it is here at the beekeepers sanctuary, she also uncovers those secrets about her mother’s life, and her death.
If you are looking to feel the sticky, heat of the South, you will find it perfectly, described in this classic read, along with the sound of bees and honey.

To those interested in more information on the book and this author, here's the USA Amazon link:

Jacqueline Howett's studio desk Copyright 2016

               I have been painting some still life, for a change.

Still Life painting of a green pepper and onion, by (C) Jacqueline Howett 2016
Still Life painting of apples By (C) Jacqueline Howett 2016

For my art lovers, more updates to my art blog, later. 

These art images are copyright images of Jacqueline Howett, and cannot be used without first obtaining permission.


Photo by Jacqueline Howett (C) 2016

 I'm hoping to use my new blender  throughout 2016 to create some healthy smoothies.  So far, I'm keeping up the pace at least four times a week.

Here's a smoothie recipe.

1 Banana, chopped up,
One cup of Blueberries,
One apple chopped up,

A good handful of greens,
Two tablespoons flax (grounded),
sunflower seeds,
handful of walnuts, crumbled up a little.
Organic Coconut flakes, or cup of coconut milk,
3 tablespoons of Greek yogurt,
tsp of chia,
Any frozen fruit place in last.

Next, I shall try carrots with ginger and apple.

I hope in future blogs to tell you more of their nutritional values. Or I might come back later and add that note in to this present smoothie.

Photo copyright, Jacqueline Howett  2016

Hope some of you got what you wanted for Christmas! I had a pleasant Christmas. I wanted to make it personal, so I knitted scarves for loved ones in England, who I haven't seen in years. Yes, I know; what me - knit? I tell you, it was fun. I finished a scarf in two days, and so I ended up knitting three. I hadn't knitted since I was in my teens. I liked the instant gratification it gave me, to see a project completed in that short time. It was a nice feeling knowing my family might wear them through the winter and feel the love while they were out and about in the cold. I think I actually felt quite different in this process of knitting. It gave me some distance from my usual self for a change, to realize how precious is time. It made me think of early childhood too. And I  remembered my English Grandma who use to knit. However, I think my fad for knitting has now passed.

In the reflection with slowing the wheels down in my brain, it did give me a new perspective.

                                 Works in progress

I 'm also excited to have given birth to some new writings in the works, while editing other major works.

I haven't put any inspirational, writing tip links up this time for writers, but for those of you interested in editing, and staying in touch with the process of writing, my previous two blogs down have a nice list I find to be helpful.  Here's the link to that blog.

I've been trying to spend a little more time outside when its sunny, for my daily dose of vitamin D. I just started growing broccoli, collard greens, and strawberries, and herbs like mint, basil, and lemon thyme. And some tomatoes from seeds. I find it so relaxing sitting among all that goodness. Sometimes I'll read a book, or catch up on blogs on my cell. However, the weather has suddenly turned cold, but it's not that bad here in Florida, and well, I can't complain with what's going on up North, and the crazy floods in the Mid West. Poor souls.

Here's wishing you all, a blessed and creative 2016, and thanks for stopping by.



  1. The Secret Life of Bees has been on my TBR list for a long while. Too many books still on that list. I have a few writing projects left over from last year, so they are still new to me as I haven't written on them yet, lol. My goal for this year is to write 100 words a day on something (other than blog posts).

    I got a new laser jet printer for Christmas. Soooo happy with it.

    Enjoy the decent weather, and all those yummy recipies. Your paintings are beautiful :)

    1. P.S. Nice, you got a printer. I could do with one of those, at some point down the road, instead of sharing.
      Happy printing to you!

  2. Thanks for dropping in, Delora. So good to see you. (Smile.)

    Once you decide to write say, twenty words, or fifty words, I found you start writing on and on. Sometimes just toiling with a few ideas and a blank word page can do the trick. I have found to write down any old thing at random is a good warm up to get back in the groove. And eventually, something solid will come. Sometimes flipping through varied novels can spark the engine.

    Anyway, all the best to you throughout 2016.

    Thanks for the comment on my art, I appreciate it. Hope you enjoy The Secret life of Bees.

  3. Good luck with the writing Jacqueline - reminds me of when I was tutoring and ill advisedly used this book

    1. Thanks David.

      Here's wishing you the very best of 2016.
      And thanks for stopping by. Its good to hear from you.

      Hmm, what were you tutoring exactly?

  4. I believe I have a copy of that book somewhere. It looks like a great read. I miss painting. I've been juicing, but I don't want to ignore my blender.

    1. Juicing is good. I'm thinking I might start putting ingredients into zipper bags when I chop-chop, and freeze them. It will make it easier when I feel lazy. That way I just need to add liquid and the nuts.

      Well, it seems you have plenty going on right now.
      Its a good start to the year.

  5. I love Secret Life of Bees. :o) I don't love her other books but that one was a keeper. Your scarves look cozy. :o)

    1. Thanks for stopping by.

      I finally got to hear how everyone loves their scalves I knitted them.

      Glad you liked the novel. You probably liked it more, seeing how you're into bees.

      Today I managed to drop some seeds into the empty spaces with my Alyssum and added some pebbles. And I planted some marjoram. Our weather is still mild in Florida.
      Sure hope your all okay where you are!

      Here's wishing you the very best throughout 2016.

  6. The Secret Life of Bees is on my list of books to read this year. It's sitting on my book shelf right now waiting for me.

    Good luck with your WIPs and best of luck with those edits! :)

    1. Thanks,Chrys. Yes, my various WIPs are coming along. Slow but steady.
      I have also started submitting some short pieces out, for a change.

      The secret life of bees, is a good escape from the fast lane, so be prepared. I hope you will enjoy it.

      Thanks for stopping by. Have a pleasant Sunday.

  7. I have that book and it is really good. So are your paintings.

  8. Hi Inger, It appears many enjoyed the book. (Smiles.)

    Thanks for your comment on my art, I appreciate it.

    Hope you're having a pleasant weekend.

  9. I grew up in the sticky heat of Mississippi, and was glad to get out of it, although I still miss the night-time sounds of insects and tree frogs. As for reading, I stuck in the late-eighteen and early-nineteen hundreds, and never made it out. You might give Margaret Deland a try.

  10. Thank you so much for introducing me to Margaret Deland. I am now curious and excited to read some of her works. I'm sure she will inspire me in many ways.

    Thanks for the visit.

  11. Just enjoyed a belated catch up, though like me it seems you not post as often as you used to.

    1. Hi, Lindylou, thanks for stopping by. Yeah, I seem to have another rythem going. I find it serves its purpose as is, and blog when I feel like it. Although every few months I feel I'm probably due without much guilt. However, I still like to make the rounds and comment when I can, and it keeps my blog turning over regardless of the time factor. Interesting that too, don't you think?

      Look after your self, girl. Here's a wave to you across the miles.

    2. I understand exactly what you mean. Take Care.


  12. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Hope all is well with many books and new paintings and all that makes you happy.

  13. Thanks Inger,
    Hope you have a pleasant Sunday.

  14. I haven't read Secret Lif of Bees yet, but I did see the movie.

  15. Hi Nancy, thanks for stopping by. I would love to see the movie.

    Hope you have a pleasant week!

    I'm hoping soon to put up another review and some tidbits. I am definitely due.