Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

Robertson’s Reads Archive



January 2017

Inspired By | 20 Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes

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martin luther king jr. quotes

Best known as a leader of the Civil Rights Movement and his pro-peace views, Martin Luther King Jr. will always be remembered as an eloquent and well-spoken man (arguably one of the most influential in American history).

In recognition of MLK Jr. Day, which was celebrated January 16 across America, here are 20 inspiring Martin Luther King Jr. quotes:

  • “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”
  • “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”
  • “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole stair case.”
  • “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
  • “To serve. You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.”
  • “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
  • “Use me, God. Show me how to take who I am, who I want to be, and what I can do, and use it for a purpose greater than myself.”
  • “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
  • “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”
  • “If you can’t fly, run; if you can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk, crawl; but by all means keep moving.”
  • “The time is always right to do what is right.”
  • “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
  • “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
  • “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
  • “The surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.”
  • “You don’t have to see the whole staircase; just take the first step.”
  • “I have learned this art: When I have nothing more to say, I stop talking.”
  • “Education without morals is like a ship without a compass, merely wandering nowhere.”
  • “Love is the most durable power in the world.”
  • “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”


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April 2016

Hope Reflected: The Importance of Faithfulness, Even in the Little Things

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Lamentations 3:23 the importance of faithfulness

One of my favourite passages in the Bible is Lamentations 3:22-23, in which the author says, “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

God’s faithfulness is great.

Whenever I read this passage or hear the classic Thomas Chisholm hymn, “Great is Thy faithfulness”, I’m reminded of God’s faithfulness. And I’m also reminded that we sometimes read those words or sing that hymn without truly taking in the meaning, and the value, of faithfulness.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, being “faithful” means to remain loyal and steadfast. To be loyal is to have “a strong feeling of support or allegiance”, and to be steadfast is to be “resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering”. Those are words with impact, and faithfulness is an impacting virtue.

While faithfulness is important in every aspect of our lives, I can think of three areas where the virtue of faithfulness is especially significant: Relationally, professionally, and financially.

  1. Faithfulness is a fundamental foundation in relationships. Hebrews 13:4 says that “Marriage is to be held in honor among all…” When we think about being faithful in a relationship, quite often the first thought is sexually. That’s certainly an important key, however I think too often we don’t place enough value on emotional faithfulness. Especially in today’s society, it seems to be more commonplace for women and men to go outside the marriage to confide in female or male friends, or even co-workers. Adultery doesn’t just refer to sexuality. Proverbs 6:32 says, “A man who commits adultery with a woman lacks wisdom, whoever does it destroys his own life.” Men and women alike should protect the sanctity of their marriage covenant. Proverbs 31:11-12 says of the virtuous woman, “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her so that he shall have no need of spoil.”
  2. Faithfulness is a fundamental foundation in your career. There’s the old adage that says “find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Maybe you don’t have the benefit of being in a job that you “love”, so perhaps you think your position doesn’t matter. It does. Regardless of whether you’re working in a job to make ends meet, or if you love your career choice, Colossians 3:23 instructs us, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men…”. Whether you love where you’re at professionally or not, we should all be working for God’s glory. You might say, “But what about my boss?!” Well, the Bible tell us in Romans 13:1, “For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” Whether politically or professionally, no authority is in place without God’s plan being part of it. Rest in that, and do your best.
  3. Faithfulness is a fundamental foundation in your finances. Finances are always a touchy subject. Everybody has his or her own opinion about how to deal with their finances. But what does the Bible say? The Bible has a lot to say about our finances. Psalm 37:21 tells us, “The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives…”. As Christians, we are to be good stewards of all that God has blessed us with, and that means paying off debts as well as giving. Even as early as the book of Genesis (14:19-20), we are told that Abram tithed and gave the Lord a tenth of everything. In Proverbs 3:9-10 we are advised to “Honor the Lord with your wealth and the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” My Grama always reminded me that when she was young and newly married, she and my Grampa never bought what they couldn’t pay for upfront. It’s a good reminder that if there is something you want, don’t always be so quick to rely on your credit card. There’s reward in purchasing items outright and not owing anything. We should be faithful in our finances.

Faithfulness is a virtue that can be developed prayerfully and with good habits. Proverbs 28:20 says “A faithful man shall abound with blessings…”.


Originally published as “The Importance of Faithfulness, Even In the Little Things”. Minto Express. April 6, 2016: 5. Print.

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February 2016

Harper Lee Quotes

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Harper Lee Quotes

Born in 1926, Harper Lee was best known for To Kill A Mockingbird (published in 1960). To Kill a Mockingbird won the Pulitzer Prize the following year, and has been a staple in modern lit ever since. While Mockingbird was her most popular work, in 2015 Lee made headlines again when Go Set a Watchman was published.

In honour of the celebrated writer, here are 10 Harper Lee quotes to inspire you:

  1. “Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”
  2. “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”
  3. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.”
  4. “Things are never as bad as they seem.”
  5. “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
  6. “People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.”
  7. “I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.”
  8. “As you grow up, always tell the truth, do no harm to others, and don’t think you are the most important being on earth.”
  9. “The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one which makes you think.”
  10. “It’s better to be silent than to be a fool.”


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March 2015

Inspired By: Mother Teresa

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Mother Teresa Quote of the Day

She was an unexpected woman of influence, but from her flowed some incredibly elegant expressions, in word and deed. And while some wish to debate her authenticity and motives, one thing that’s for sure is that the Blessed Teresa of Calcutta has influenced generations.

Five truths we can learn from Mother Teresa:

  1. “Do small things with great love.”
  2. “It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.”
  3. “Give the world your best, and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway, for you see, in the end it is between you and God.”
  4. “Be faithful in small things, because it is in them that your strength lies.”
  5. “…prayer changes us, and we change things.”
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February 2015

Robertson’s Reads: Nemesis by Agatha Christie

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Nemesis by Agatha Christie

Nemesis by Agatha Christie, a Miss Marple Mystery

“Nemesis…The word brought a picture before her eyes. Tropical palms—a blue Caribbean sea—and herself running through the warm fragrant night on the island of St. Honore to ask for help. To get help in time so that a life could be saved… Now she herself was being asked for help…”

Oh how I love the official Agatha Christie Book of the Month! Agatha Christie’s Nemesis (like most of her other novels) is an instant classic. The follow-up to A Caribbean Mystery, Nemesis centres around everyone’s favourite old aunt, Miss Marple, and though now deceased, her unlikely friendship with millionaire Jason Rafiel.

When Miss Marple receives a postcard from Mr. Rafiel (whom she met on St. Honore in A Caribbean Mystery), he is posthumously asking for her assisting in looking at an unspecified crime. If she’s able to solve the crime, she is set to inherit £20,000 (so who wouldn’t be interested at this point?!). Mr. Rafiel leaves Miss Marple clues along way, and she follows the arrangements he made previous to his death. First up is a tour of famous British homes and gardens (which green thumb Miss Marple would love), a tour which Miss Marple embarks on not alone, but in the company of fourteen other characters.

Among the characters on the tour are Miss Elizabeth Templeton (a retired headmistress who has connection to the individual involved in the crime), Miss Cooke (“planted” on the garden tour by Jason Rafiel before his death to help Miss Marple), Miss Barrow (also planted to assist Miss Marple), Professor Wanstead (one of the tourists, a psychiatrist who worked with Jason Rafiel’s son), Joanna Crawford (tourist), Emlyn Price (tourist), Lavinia Glynne (a widow who lives along the garden tour route, whom Jason Rafiel has made arrangements with for Miss Marple to stay at her cottage), Clotilde Bradbury-Scott (Lavinia’s sister), Anthea Bradbury-Scott (Lavinia and Clotilde’s sister), Michael Rafiel (Jason Rafiel’s son, who is accused of murder), Verity Hunt (Michael Rafiel’s fiancé, whom Michael is accused of murdering), Archdeacon Brabazon (Miss Temple’s friend, who as it turns out, was set to secretly marry Michael and Verity), Nora Broad (dead local person whose disfigured body made her almost impossible to identify).

The trip is quite tiring, and knowing this would be the case, before his death Mr. Rafiel, made arrangements for Miss Marple to stay at a local cottage for a few days. Whilst staying with Lavinia Glynne and her sisters, Miss Marple learns that Verity came to live with the Glynnes after her parents died, and became very attached to Lavinia’s sister Clotilde. Verity was engaged (secretly married, we later learn) to Jason’s son Michael, who is now in prison, accused of murdering his fiancé.

After a few days staying with the three sisters, Miss Marple rejoins the group only to learn that her friend Miss Temple has been seriously injured during a rockslide on the hike the day previous. Miss Marple and the rest of the group add an extra night to their tour as they want to be aware of Miss Temple’s condition in hospital. Professor Wanstead (who had given a psychiatric evaluation to Michael after he was incarcerated), takes Miss Marple to the hospital to visit Miss Temple. While she’s there, Miss Marple is able to speak with the comatose Miss Temple, who awakes only for a few moments, and tells Miss Marple to look for Verity Hunt. Miss Temple dies later that night.

Miss Marple makes the decision not to continue on the tour, and instead accepts an invitation from Lavinia Glynne and her sisters to stay with them. On her first night back with the sisters, Miss Marple learns more about Verity. She’s also visited by the Archdeacon Brabazon during an inquiry into the death of Miss Temple. The Archdeacon informs Miss Marple that he was set to marry Verity Hunt and Michael Rafiel in a secret ceremony, which he only agreed to because he could see how in love the two were. When neither showed up or gave word of their absence on the day he was to marry them, the Archdeacon was very surprised. After relaying the Archdeacon’s story with the sisters, Miss Marple’s new friends Miss Barrow and Miss Cooke stop by the house to speak with Miss Marple, and that evening they come back again for coffee.

Over coffee, the group also discusses the circumstances surrounding the death of Miss Temple. Miss Marple doesn’t have any of the coffee, but instead accepts a glass of warm milk made by sister Clotilde. She doesn’t drink the milk, and it’s a good thing as in the middle of the night when Clotilde enters Miss Marple’s room to kill her, Miss Marple surprises her by being awake, and accuses Clotilde of indeed being the murderer of Verity Hunt and also Nora Broad, and engineering the circumstances to frame Michael Rafiel. As Clotilde tries to silence Miss Marple, she is accosted by Miss Barrow and Miss Cooke, the bodyguards Jason Rafiel hired to protect Miss Marple. Clotilde drinks the poisoned milk herself.

After Michael Rafiel is set free, and once she’s satisfied that she’s solved the mystery, Miss Marple collects the inheritance left to her by Jason Rafiel.

While critics never claimed Nemesis to be one of Christie’s best — even though the novel is a mystery full of characters and plenty of twists and turns — it is a Christie classic that once again showcases sweet Miss Marple as the heroine detective.


Purchase Nemesis by Agatha Christie on Amazon

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February 2015

Charles Dickens Quotes

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Well my friends, were he still alive and writing, legendary British writer Charles Dickens would turn 203 on February 7.

In honour of my favourite author, — hey, I love Dickens so much I named my mini schnauzer after him! — I thought it’d be fun to share ten of my favourite Charles Dickens quotes:

  • “A loving heart is the truest wisdom.” (from David Copperfield)
  • “The most important thing in life is to stop saying ‘I wish’, and start saying ‘I will’. Consider nothing impossible, then treat possibilities as probabilities.” (from David Copperfield)
  • “Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many – not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
  • “Take nothing on its looks: Take everything on evidence. There’s no better rule.” (from Great Expectations)
  • “Happiness is a gift, and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes.” (from Nicholas Nickleby)
  • “Every heart is a profound mystery to the heart beating nearest it.”
  • “It is good to be children, and sometimes never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.” (from A Christmas Carol)
  • “We forge the chains we wear in life.” (from A Christmas Carol)
  • “Do all the good you can, and make as little fuss about it as possible.”
  • “I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.”

What are your favourite Dickens quotes? What’s your favourite novel by Charles Dickens?


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January 2015

Verses About Courage

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Ah, the fresh energy that comes with the commencement of a new year! For many, January 1 marks a clean slate to commit to better living. January 1 can also be a time to reflect on everything — triumphs and tragedies, highs and lows, — we’ve been through the past year. There will always be unexpected life challenges and events that occur throughout the year in each of our lives, and in addition to excitement, facing the uncertainties and unknowns of a new year can also cause fear.

I’ve put together five of my favourite Bible verses about courage. Referenced more than 30 times in the Bible, courage is defined as “the ability to do something that frightens one,” and also “strength in the face of pain or grief”. Courage is an attribute that can strengthen hearts and help us successfully navigate life’s challenges.

I hope these verses are an encouragement to you as you embark on your journey through 2015. [All verses are taken from the King James Version, unless otherwise noted.]

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” Moses speaks to Israel and tells them to be strong and of a good courage, to fear not. This verse serves as an awesome reminder that no matter what, God is with us.

Deuteronomy 31:6 (KJV)

Deuteronomy 31:6 (KJV)

Joshua 1:9 “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” In Joshua chapter 1, the Lord commands Joshua to “be strong and of a good courage” three times in the first 10 verses!

Joshua 1:9

Joshua 1:9 (KJV)

Ezra 10:4 “Be of good courage, and do it.” Matter-of-fact and to-the-point.

Ezra 10:4 (KJV)

Ezra 10:4 (KJV)

Psalm 27:14 “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” I’ve had this verse highlighted in my Bible for years. It’s funny, because typically we wouldn’t think that ‘waiting’ or being patient would require much courage, but in reality, sometimes it requires the most courage of all. Not jumping to our own conclusions, not trying to force or our own will, but waiting patiently and working diligently for God’s best.

Psalm 27:14 (KJV)

Psalm 27:14 (KJV)

Psalm 31:24 “Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.” This is the second time that David notes one of the benefits to being of courage: When you have courage, God will strengthen your heart.

Psalm 31:24 KJV

Psalm 31:24 (KJV)

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May 2014

Inspired by: 10 Maya Angelou Quotes

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Maya Angelou. image via Oprah.com

Maya Angelou. image via Oprah.com

Her poetry was beautiful, she was an author several times over, as well as recognized civil rights activist; Maya Angelou was a woman of influence, and her life and words have inspired so many.

Today, I’m reflecting on her impact with 10 Maya Angelou quotes that have inspired me.

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

“Nothing will work unless you do.”

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

“You shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”

“Find a beautiful piece of art. If you fall in love with Van Gogh or Matisse or John Oliver Killens, or if you fall in love with the music of Coltrane, the music of Aretha Franklin, or the music of Chopin – find some beautiful art and admire it, and realize that it was created by human beings just like you, no more human, no less.”

“Among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.”

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

“When you learn, teach; when you get, give.”

“All great achievements require time.”

“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue consistently. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”

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May 2014

Robertson’s Reads: The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

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The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie, a Tommy and Tuppence Mystery

The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie, a Tommy and Tuppence Mystery

Whilst my introduction to the Queen of Crime’s famous detective duo started with By The Pricking of My Thumbs, after reading The Secret Adversary, I’ve got to say it was just as thrilling (and helped with some of the backstory of how Tommy and Tuppence paired up in the first place).

The Secret Adversary starts onboard the RMS Lusitania on May 7 of 1915. When the ship starts sinking, a mysterious man man approaches and gives papers to an unassuming American woman named Jane Finn for safe-keeping believing she is more likely to survive the ship’s submersion. He tells the girl that if they both survive the sinking, he’ll take out an ad in the The Times; if there is no ad, she must personally take the papers to the American ambassador.

Fast-forward four years to 1919 and we’re introduced to soldier Tommy Beresford, who’s catching up with war volunteer Prudence Cowley (we know her better as “Tuppence”). Both unemployed and looking for excitement, the non-couple found “The Young Adventruers, Ltd” and put themselves out for hire. “No unreasonable offer refused” is their advertisement, and very soon they find themselves caught up in a mystery. After establishing “The Young Adverturers, Ltd”, Tuppence is followed by a man named Whittington who says he has a “proposition” for her. Although hesitant, she shows up at the man’s office the following day, to hear the proposition. Whittington offers her a job, to go to Paris and pretend to be an American woman. Now even more suspicious, when Whittington asks, Tuppence states that her name is “Jane Finn” (which she heard Tommy mention the day previous). He gets upset thinking Tuppence is playing with him, accuses her of blackmail, and the asks if “Rita” has been talking. Tuppence, obviously confused, is saved by Whittington’s assistant Mr. Brown, who shares that Whittington has an important message waiting. Whittington gives Tuppence some money and asks her to come back the next day.

The next day, Tuppence brings Tommy along back to Whittington’s office, only to find it closed up, and the company gone. Very curious, Tommy and Tuppence place another ad in the Times that asks “Wanted, any information respecting Jane Finn. Apply Y.A.” They receive two replies to the ad, one from American millionaire Julius P. Hersheimmer (he claims that Jane Finn is his cousin that he’s trying to find her), and the second from Mr. A. Carter (who Tommy knows as a member of the British secret service).

When they meet Mr. Carter, he fills the duo in on the story about Jane Finn, and reveals that after the ship sank, Jane Finn was never listed as being rescued. He also reveals the contents of the papers she was carrying as highly classified and containing information that could be used by revolutionists against Britain. While no one knows where the papers are, or who Jane Finn really is, one thing is apparent to all: “Mr. Brown” is the criminal in charge, and his accomplice is Whittington.

Mr. Carter recruits the Young Adventurers to look for Jane Finn. They discover a survivor the Lusitania named Marguerite Vandemeyer (called “Rita” by Whittington). Tuppence poses as her parlourmaid to go undercover and gain more insight into the case, while Tommy locates Whittington with the help of Julius Hersheimmer. Together, Tommy and Julius trail Whittington and a man named Boris. Tommy follows Borris right into a secret meeting in a mysterious house, where he learns of the revolutionists, and their plans (once they get their hands on the secret papers). Tommy is captured and held prisoner in the house.

Meanwhile, Tuppence is still working as Rita’s parlourmaid, and is introduced to houseguests Boris (whom Tommy was following) and M.P. Sir James Peel Edgerton. Edgerton and Tuppence establish a mutual trust when he suggests that Tuppence is not safe working for Rita.

Julius ends up following Whittington to a private hospital in Bournemouth, and while investigating by looking through a second-story window, he falls out of a tree. He awakens under the care of a Dr. Hall, who tells him that Whittington has already left, so Julius also takes leave and goes back to London, where he meets up with Tuppence. Both are suspicious that they haven’t heard from Tommy, so they go to Tuppence’s M.P. friend Sir James and tell him the whole story. He suggests that they should go to Rita’s home later in the night and confront her to find Tommy. Tuppence heads over first and confronts Rita, and in the middle of their confrontation, Julius and Sir James enter the scene. Rita collapses, so they give her some brandy once she wakes. She complains of heart trouble, then nods off. Sir James suggests they call his friend Dr. Hall (who earlier had treated Julius). The next morning, before they can get Rita to Dr. Hall, Rita is found dead, apparently from an overdose of chloral. After talking to Dr. Hall, it is revealed that Rita had originally come to him with her niece in 1915, asking him to treat her as she had amnesia. Her niece’s name was Jane Finn, and she is no longer under Dr. Hall’s care. Julius reveals to Tuppence that he does not trust Sir James. Tuppence later receives a telegram from “Tommy” and rushes off to meet him.

Tommy meanwhile, still being held in the house by his captors, continuously makes references to “Mr. Brown”. Eventually his escape is aided by a young French maid named Annette. Tommy goes back to the hotel, where he and Julius find the fake telegram from Tommy to Tuppence. They go to the address on the telegram, but fail to find Tuppence. Eventually, they do find Jane Finn, who has since recovered her memory. She reveals the hiding place of the secret papers, but when the reach the hiding place, they only find a message from Mr. Brown.  Tommy then goes directly to Mr. Carter, and tells him what he knows. They are under pressure even more now to find the secret papers, as a Russian official named Kramenin is visiting  England and plans to find and use the papers to start a revolt. Mr. Carter also reveals that Tuppence is suspected to be drowned.

Tommy goes back to the hotel, where he and Julius have a fight over Tuppence. Julius leaves, and Tommy searches Julius’s drawer, where he discovers a photo of the French maid Annette. Tommy concludes that the Jane Finn they met earlier was just a decoy, and that Annette is the true Jane Finn. While at the hotel, Tommy also receives a fake telegram from Tuppence (he knows it’s fake because her name is spelled incorrectly). Tommy deciphers the identity of Mr. Brown, and sets out to make things right.

Julius ends finding and holding Mr. Kramenin hostage, and Kramenin (who earlier kidnapped Tuppence), lets her and Annette go. Tuppence and Annette (Jane) head to Sir James’s home in London, and Tommy and Julius follow by car. Jane reveals her story, and also the location of the secret papers. Tuppence divulges that she suspects Julius of being Mr. Brown, and Sir James agrees, and tells the girls how the real Julius was killed in America. Sir James leads them as they go to retrieve the secret papers, where Sir James reveals his true identity to be that of Mr. Brown. He is going to kill them, wound himself, and blame Mr. Brown. Tommy and Julius (who were hiding at the location already), jump Sir James, who then takes poison from his ring and dies.

Later, Julius hosts a party honouring Jane. Tommy and Tuppence are both in attendance, as is Tuppence’s dad, the archdeacon, and Tommy’s rich uncle, who declares Tommy his heir. There are two marriage proposals: Julius to Jane, and Tommy also proposes marriage to Tuppence and she accepts.

Purchase The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie on Amazon.ca

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May 2014

Charles James: Beyond Fashion

Written by , Posted in Arts / Culture, Biographies / Style Icons, Dresses, Fashion, Women

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Charles James, 1952: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Michael A. Vaccaro / LOOK Magazine Photograph Collection, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Look Job 52-1129 Frame-18

Charles James, 1952: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Michael A. Vaccaro / LOOK Magazine Photograph Collection, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Look Job 52-1129 Frame-18

Tonight is the highly-anticipated Met Gala, the annual fundraiser ball for the Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. Besides the amazing (and sometimes over-the-top) fashions displayed on the red carpet, what I love about the annual Gala is that it signifies the commencement of another exciting exhibit at the Museum. This year’s exhibition is entitled Charles James: Beyond Fashion, and is an examination of the illustrious couturier’s career, as well as his often-imitated design methodology.

Charles James "Taxi" Dress, ca. 1932, Black wool ribbed knit The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Alan W. Kornberg Gift, 2013 (2013.309)

Charles James “Taxi” Dress, ca. 1932, Black wool ribbed knit
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Alan W. Kornberg Gift, 2013 (2013.309)

Charles James was born in 1906. He attended Harrow School alongside Cecil Beaton (the famous photographer). James’s designs first caught attention during at a showing in Paris in 1947. He was the father of many firsts in fashion design, including his taxi dress innovation (made first in 1929, given the name “taxi dress” because, according to Costume Institute curator Harold Koda, it was “so easy to wear it could be slipped on in the backseat of a taxi”. Interestingly enough, James had no formal training in fashion design, however he is to this day regarded as one of the most innovative designers of his time.

Charles James Evening Dress, 1948, Black silk satin and black silk velvet The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Millicent Huttleston Rogers, 1949 (2009.300.734)

Charles James Evening Dress, 1948, Black silk satin and black silk velvet
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Millicent Huttleston Rogers, 1949 (2009.300.734)

Charles James: Beyond Fashion will be exhibited in two locations: Both at the Anna Wintour Costume Center as well as on the Met’s first floor. According to Metmuseum.org, the exhibit will include approximately seventy-five of James’s most iconic designs.

I am particularly eager to check out the exhibit this summer, not just because of this years subject, but also because this is first exhibit at the Institute since its renovation. Some of my favourite exhibits from the past several years include the American Woman collection, Alexander McQueen’s “Savage Beauty”, and “Impossible Conversations” with Schiaparelli and Prada.

For more information on Charles James: Beyond Fashion, visit the Met’s official website.

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