"God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform..." William Cowper

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bring Us Some What?

We all know what those Christmas carolers were so adamant in getting in the song, We Wish You A Merry Christmas. But although I’ve enjoyed the song numerous times, I always wonder—what in the world is figgy pudding?

This dessert dates back to 16th-century England. Our friends from my last post—the Puritans—were likely not the ones to introduce this Christmas pudding to the colonies, as they banned it for one main ingredient: alcohol.

It is made of dried fruit and resembles cake more than pudding. Seasonings of nutmeg, cinnamon, and plenty of alcohol complete this rather unappetizing-looking dessert. It has been compared to fruitcake and many claim to enjoy it.

As for those carolers, I think they may have wanted to warm up with a little more than the Christmas spirit! ;)

If anyone has tried figgy pudding, I’d love to hear your opinion on this historical dessert.

photo: wikipedia

Monday, November 25, 2013

Plimoth or Plymouth?

One of my favorite historical places to visit is Plymouth, Massachusetts. Hubby took me to Plymouth back in May on our Ten-Year Anniversary and my mother and sister took me in September for my birthday. (It’s a wonder I don't have more pictures!)

My two elementary-age boys have been coming home from school with fun history for me to feast on about the Pilgrims, the Wampanoags, and Plimoth Plantation. Here’s a few historical tidbits.  
~Two boats started out from England with the Pilgrims—the Mayflower and the Speedwell. The Speedwell began to leak early on, so everyone boarded the Mayflower, making a tight fit of 116 people, 14 who were children. 

~One passenger—William Mullins—brought 126 pairs of shoes and 13 pairs of boots to share. The Pilgrims didn’t know if they would be able to get anmal hides to make leather in the new world.

~The Pilgrims first landed at Provincetown, but decided to build their colony across the bay in Plymouth. 

 The fort/meeting house the Pilgrims built in their colony. Photo: wikipedia

 Today, the spot where the meeting house was built is occupied by
          First Parish Church in the center of Plymouth.  Photo: wikipedia

~William Bradford wrote Of Plimoth Plantation, in which his most common way of spelling the town was P-l-i-m-o-t-h. That’s why the town is spelled with an “i” when referring to the village the Pilgrims settled.

~the name Wampanoag means People of the First Light
~birthdays were not usually celebrated in the 17th century. While some marked the day of their Baptism as a day of quiet and prayer, public celebrations were not the norm.

~boys and girls dressed alike until age seven, when boys were “breeched.” Instead of a child’s gown or skirts, they were given smaller versions of adult male clothing. They also began to spend more time working with the men out of doors, as opposed to staying with their mother.

~a total of 36% of children would die before they reached the age of six. Another 24% between the ages of seven and sixteen. With the loss of life, no doubt the Pilgrim’s felt a great need to look to God and the eternal importance of the soul. 

~although we celebrate Thanksgiving in late November, it is thought that the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people celebrated a feast of harvest sometime between September 21st and November 9th, 1621. During the celebration, Massasoit—a leader of the Wampanoag—brought 90 of his men for a three-day feast.

On the Plimoth Plantation website:
~How to talk like a Pilgrim, click here.

Pilgrim Edward Winslow wrote the only surviving record of the harvest feast of celebration to a friend back in England:

"Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that we might after a more special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the Company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some 90 men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."
 Winslow’s Letter in Mourt’s Relation (ed. Heath), 82

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Power of a Story

Today I'm blogging about the Power of a Story at a new blog called StoryShoutOut, where everything is devoted to Story. Come check out my post and the website HERE.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Visions of Baseball and Blogging

In my attempt to dive back into the blogging world, I’m constructing a new vision for this blog. I hope to gear the posts toward my love of history, particularly New England history. 

With the 2013 World Series ending at Fenway Park, I thought it might be fun to begin close to home, at this historic landmark. 

So have a look at a little Fenway history! 

~Fenway Park's name came from its location in the Fenway Neighborhood of Boston. The Neighborhood was once marshland or "fens" and was filled in during the late nineteenth century.

~Fenway’s first baseball game was played on April 20, 1912. The Red Sox versus the New York Highlanders. In case you don’t realize how long ago that was, let me remind you. In 1912, William Taft was President. The Titanic sunk, automobiles were a luxury rather than a necessity, and women still wore corsets. 

~Fenway’s scoreboard is still updated by hand, giving viewers that nostalgic feeling of an old-time baseball game. 

 Center of Pittsfield, MA, mid-1800's
~The earliest known reference of baseball in America was in 1791 in Pittsfield, MA. The reference was a by-law banning the playing of the game within eighty yards of the new meeting house. 

~Early forms of baseball had many names. A few were “Round Ball,” “Stool Ball,” and “Fletch-Catch,” or simply “Base.” 

~Before he was sold to the Yankees in 1920, Babe Ruth helped the Red Sox win three World Series (1915, 1916, 1918). 

So what will the World Series of 2013 bring? I guess we’ll all have to turn to good ol’ Fenway to find out. 

photos: wikipedia

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The New England Christian Writers Retreat

I know I can't pretend like it hasn't been forever since I posted, but after this amazing writing retreat this weekend, I feel invigorated and inspired to do some blogging.

The retreat was held in Plainfield, NH and our surroundings were gorgeous.


Beautiful Sunday morning Sunrise!

 Through sessions, workshops, and critiques, I received plenty of inspiration and helpful information from the amazing faculty.


Left to right: Jeanne Doyon (not pictured--sorry, Jeanne!), Carol Barnier, Tessa Afshar,
 Lauren Yarger, and Lucinda Secrest McDowell



 One of my favorite authors, Tessa Afshar. I was honored to have her critique my first five pages. She gave me some very helpful input.

 I had the pleasure of riding up to Plainfield with this amazing woman and author, Carla Olson Gade. I'm reading her book, Patter for Romance, a very enjoyable historical set in colonial Boston.

My roommate, Rachel Britton, me, and Carla at breakfast. Rachel writes nonfiction (Prayer Zone Workout) and is from England. I loved her accent and her sweet heart.

Along with plenty of learning, writing time, hiking, and great food, I met so many beautiful people alive with the spirit of Christ. Looking forward to next year!

Have you ever gone a retreat (of any kind!)? What was your experience? Were you inspired from your time away?

Monday, February 25, 2013

It's Time For The Frasier!

If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you know I don’t do a lot of promotion. But I’m willing to make exceptions when I believe in something's worth. That’s why I jumped at the chance to talk about My Book Therapy’s amazing contest, The Frasier.

As a sometimes struggling, often uncertain, hungry-to-learn, but yet still unpublished writer, I know the importance of a good contest. And The Frasier is at the very top of my list.

I’d heard great things about the Frasier last year, so I decided to enter. A few months later I received a call from Susan May Warren (eek!) telling me my manuscript was a finalist in the contest. The best part was all the tremendous feedback I received. The judges clearly took care and time in handling my story in a respectful manner and giving me plenty of ideas to keep me moving forward.

All writers need to get comfortable with our work being in front of others. If you’re unsure which contest to enter, choose the Frasier. You can be confident your manuscript is in compassionate, experienced hands.

Entries for the 2013 MBT Frasier Contest for unpublished novelists will be accepted through Sunday, March 31, at 11:59 p.m. The contest is open to Voices members. The winner will receive a scholarship to a My Book Therapy coaching retreat ($500 value). Final round judges are award-winning author Susan May Warren; literary agent Steve Laube; and Shannon Marchese, senior fiction editor for WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. For more information, FAQs and to enter, visit www.mybooktherapy.com.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Pardon My Absence, I've Been Busy Wrestling With....

~a new job. Going back to work—even part-time—is a big adjustment after being a Stay-At-Home-Mom for the last seven years.

~my family’s new puppy, Howie. He’s a Standard Poodle and I’m completely surprised how quickly I’ve fallen in love with him.

~a broken computer. But by God’s grace and a very generous brother-in-law, I have a nearly new laptop. J

~the tragedies of life. Namely, those that happened in Newtown, CT. This was my biggest wrestling match yet. For some time, I let the sadness and despair for those families take me away into a black hole of nothingness. I let anxiety rule my life, questioned whether to send my kids to school ever again or set up homeschool headquarters birthed out of fear. I questioned God and His sovereignty.

But His grace is new every morning and He reminded me of His truths, of His ultimate control over every aspect of our life, of His promise to work things out for our good and His glory, no matter if we understand or not. I chose trust and faith and drank in God’s grace once again.

~my blog and other social media presences. I wrestled with my motivation for blogging, for posting on facebook and twitter. Why had I started all these things in the first place? What was the point? Well, the answer was obvious, to work toward my ultimate goal: becoming a published author. But is that good enough? Is pushing myself out of the writer slushpile with social media what God wants for me? Am I worried about me and my agenda, or God’s agenda? I can’t ignore the many friends I’ve made and wonderful people I’ve met, but can I ignore my impure motivations? I’m still wrestling with these things, and praying about them.

Meanwhile…I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you ever wrestle with any of these issues? If not, what have you been wrestling with lately? I’d be honored to pray for you!