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Longfellow’s Christmas Bells

Posted by on Dec 21, 2018

The sorrow behind the joyful words of Longfellow’s song. As a writer, I’m always fascinated to learn the history behind the stories and how the events at the time might influence the  words that flow onto a blank page. Good or bad, joyous or devastating–strong emotions can evolve into powerful prose. A good example is a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, one of my all time favorites. Longfellow’s Sorrow In the case of Christmas Bells, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the words to his poem on December 25, 1864.  The music and message we enjoy today is up-lifting. The words actually came from a very distraught Longfellow during one of the lowest times in his life. Tragedy Strikes Again Three years earlier, the summer of 1861, his beloved wife Fanny had tried to preserve her daughter’s hair clippings in wax.  In...

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Truck Cookies and Piles of Worms

Posted by on Dec 14, 2018

“Traditions are the guideposts driven deep in our subconscious minds. The most powerful ones are those we can’t even describe, aren’t even aware of.” ELLEN GOODMAN “I’m putting a truck on mine,” proclaimed my eight-year-old. “That’s a great idea!” I said. Dump trucks are not ordinarily parked on holiday cookies, but expressing oneself is an important part of growing up. Besides, we only had this short afternoon to form life-long  memories, so let the merry making begin. “Don’t spread that out, Mom.  It’s supposed to be the lights,” ordered my five-year-old, as he licked green icing off his fingers.  Against my better judgment, I set aside a cookie with long, thin tubes, which looked more like a pile of worms. The time passed quickly as we added final touches from an assortment of sprinkles, gummies, and peppermint candies. We had...

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Cranberry Relish Time!

Posted by on Dec 7, 2018

Finding Joy in Simple Things like Cranberry Relish! Fate is a funny thing; people weave in and out of our lives and sometimes the ones who make the most memorable impact are here for the briefest of moments. I love these simple surprises, like the day I discovered cranberry relish. A New Neighbor We had a new neighbor right across the street, who we welcomed on Halloween with pumpkin bread along with kids dressed as Buzz Lightyear and a pirate. Seems kind of un-neighborly to give her warm bread and beg for candy treats in return, but that’s the kind of people we are. Over the next month she and I visited briefly, exchanging pleasantries usually be the mailbox. Jesse’s husband had passed, they never had children, and her nephew felt she would do better living in town where...

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Goodnight Historical Center; Worth A Stop

Posted by on Nov 23, 2018

If you happen to be traveling along U.S. Highway 287 through the Texas Panhandle this holiday season, plan for a pit stop at the Charles Goodnight Historical Center in Goodnight, Texas. Don’t blink because you might miss it. Set back from the black top, you will see an 1887 Victorian-style home. The historical center is located at 4901 County Road 25. Watch for the buffalo signs and turn south on Country Road 25 by the green Buffalo Gold building. Located on its original site, the home has been fully restored and a tour with an informative guide is a must. Referred to as the “castle on the prairie”, it was the ranch headquarters for early pioneer and cattleman Charles Goodnight who first settled his cattle in Palo Duro Canyon in 1876, later to become the famed JA Ranch. With Irishman...

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Book Reviews & Gift Ideas

Posted by on Nov 16, 2018

Looking for your next read or a unique gift idea? Here are a few of my recent discoveries. Follow the links to author websites for more information and how to purchase. Cookbooks Home-Style Cooking for Extraordinary Diets by Sherri Axe Hartman Gluten free, wheat free, casein free, dairy free, egg free, soy free, corn free, and nut free. These recipes were developed over a 15 year span by a friend out of necessity for life. Hartman shares her best recipes, tested and perfected through trial and error over the years. Hartman states, “It is better to get on the diet than take a chance of causing more damage or getting something worse.” You can email the author directly for ordering information: sherri-axe-hartman@outlook.com  Sourdough Biscuits and Pioneer Pies by Gail L. Jenner Loaded with down home, time tested recipes and...

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Update: What’s New

Posted by on Nov 9, 2018

Happy Fall, Y’all! Here’s an update on what’s new and what I’m working on: Rescue Animal Series: Geared towards emerging readers, these are chapter books with 3rd/4th grade vocabulary. If your elementary school or library would be interested in a program about “The Power of Words”, send me an email or call my office. All dates are full for Fall 2018, but you can still reserve a date for Spring 2018 or Fall 2019. Go to the CONTACT  tab at the top of the page. Update: FLASH and TAZ are now available in hard cover, library binding format, as well as soft cover and eBook.                   Trouble in Texas series: A wild west adventure set in the frontier town of Justice, Texas. Book 1 is HANGIN’ DAY, and in a few...

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