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Writing and Arts

Did Women Freely Give Their Opinions in the 17th Century?

The 17th century was a time of great change. Art, music, dance, and poetry became more elaborate and dramatic. During the 1600’s, differences of opinion were discussed and argued about between the Catholics, Protestants and other denominations. But were men the only ones who freely gave their opinion?

There were some women throughout history who spoke up for their beliefs but most were not taken seriously. When a woman spoke in public, it was considered “unwomanly.” But that didn’t stop my ancestor, Dorothea Scott.

Dorothea was of a spiritual nature and had a strong belief in God. She was a countess from Kent, England and married Major Daniel Gotherson. I learned that she was brought up as a Protestant, but she felt something lacking so she joined the Quakers. Feeling the need to bring people to God, she wrote a book named A Call to Repentance and it was published in 1661. Then she promptly took it to King Charles II as a gift, hoping to bring about more righteousness. This copy is in the Library of The Society of Friends, Devonshire House, in London. Then she went about preaching the gospel and gained a large following. They referred to her followers at Scott’s Congregation.

On March 4, 1655, a relative reported that Dorothea was giving lectures about religion and felt it was disgraceful. That was a man’s duty and not a woman’s. She wrote: “As for the countess, I can tell you heavie news of her, for she is turned Quaker and preaches every day on a tubb.” (This letter is in the Bodleian Library at Oxford.)

In her journal, Dorothea wrote: “Then began I to be led by the Spirit of God out of darkness into His marvelous light … and where I have known Him most is too hard to be uttered.”

This was just the beginning for women to stand up for what they believed. In the late 1700s, Abigail Adams, the wife of John Adams who was the second president of the U.S., encouraged her husband to “remember the ladies” as they made their new laws. She believed in women’s rights, women’s education, and was against involuntary servitude. It was said that he respected her opinions and she advised her husband in several decisions.   

During the 1800s, more and more women spoke up and let their opinions be heard. When these women took a stand, their actions were looked down upon. Speaking publicly was considered improper for a woman. Even though it wasn’t accepted, Elizabeth Stanton still gave her opinions. Both she and her husband were abolitionists. When they went to a convention in England that was against slavery, she tried to give her opinion but was put down and told that women were not permitted to give speeches or their opinions. It was solely a man’s place to speak publicly. That experience made her all the more determined to speak out for what she believed.

Susan B. Anthony was another who spoke out against inequality. She encouraged women to stand up for their rights. And that was exactly what she did and was arrested for it. On November 5, 1872 in a presidential election, the authorities were summoned and Susan B. Anthony was arrested for voting illegally. When she was fined $100, she refused to pay it. Susan said firmly, “Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.”

Eighteen years later, one state after another began allowing women to vote. The first four states were Wyoming (1890), Colorado (1893), Utah (1896), and Idaho (1896). In fact, Wyoming and Utah actually gave women the right to vote before they were states and when they were just territories. Women in these states immediately began running for office and won the vote.

These courageous women were an important part of history but that was just the beginning. It wasn’t until March 22, 1972 that the Equal Rights Amendment was passed by the U.S. Senate and it was sent to the states for ratification. In this amendment, women were not to be discriminated against when it came to jobs or equal pay.

This subject was the inspiration for my new book, A Mississippi Sunset. In this historical romance set in 1844, Laura McBride is a liberated and courageous young lady who is convinced that she can help others in her crusade for equality. She encourages women to fight for their beliefs and be heard. But she soon finds out that women who speak publicly are looked down upon. But that wasn’t how Deputy William Davies felt. When he met Laura McBride, he was intrigued with her independent nature. He admired her spunk and determination to fight against slavery and involuntary servitude.

Watch a book trailer of the Women of Courage series on YouTube.

A Mississippi Sunset is available on Amazon as a paperback, ebook, and as an Audible Audiobook narrated by Elizabeth Schmidt.


Writing and Arts

Education for Women in Nineteenth Century America

In America, not many girls received an education in the early nineteenth century. Those who did only received the basic classes of reading and writing. A few women’s schools were created for the advancement of women’s education such as the Troy Female Seminary in New York, established by Emma Hart Willard in 1821. It was the first female school in the United States that provided young women with the same college education comparable to that of young men.

In Great Britain, education for women was viewed as a way of helping the young women become better wives and mothers. Their classes included music, Latin, and all the social graces including etiquette. Some of the higher-class society taught their daughters mathematics and sciences along with their brothers.

Sydney Beveridge, of the Oxford University Press, wrote: “In both the black and white populations, women were less likely to be literate than men, but the gender gap in literacy rates was wider among whites. 59.5 percent of illiterate white adults were female.”

It wasn’t until the 1840s that women’s education was taken seriously and educational opportunities for young women opened up. Soon, there were opportunities for women to become teachers. Some taught in the frontier where it was greatly needed and others taught in the big cities.

In the early days of America, religion was an important part of education in schools. The school board believed that religion was “the foundation of all that is truly great and good.” In other words, the Bible was to be part of the school curriculum. In the 17th and 18th centuries, they always began with a prayer and read from the Bible before studying other subjects. Some philosophers believed American children were more literate than the Europeans because of the need to read the Bible.

Dr. Charles Aebi said, “The Bible itself was used for learning to read and for reading in the schools; the ABCs were learned by use of Bible names like A is for Adam, B is for Boaz, C is for Caleb, etc. Bible passages were selected to be read based on level of vocabulary. Bible stories and principles were taught… and Bible principles were emphasized by memorizing the ten commandments.”

In the 1600s and 1700s the Bible was very important for teaching people to read, no matter what age. When I was in grade school, they didn’t teach from the Bible but the teacher always began with a prayer and the pledge of allegiance to the flag.

Even though there were schools in most communities, there were those who never attended because of lack of money or opportunities. Some women had to sign an X to a wedding certificate because they had never learned to sign their name. In 1870, it was noted that twenty percent of the adult population was illiterate. Sadly, placing an X on a document was not uncommon.

When I learned that my great grandmother, who was from Wales, received a formal education in a private school, I was impressed. Not many could afford that kind of an education in the 1800s. Her aunt paid for her education because she believed it was important for her niece to be educated. When my great grandmother came to America at the age of seventeen, the young men referred to her as “a lady of refinement.”

After learning about her many experiences when she arrived in America, I was so impressed. Thus, I was inspired to write my next book, which I called A Lady of Refinement. In this historical romance, Serenity’s brother William questions someone who is thinking about courting his sister.

Cocking his head curiously, Jonathan asked, “What makes you think she’ll turn me away?”

“Let me put it this way,” said William. “Serenity has a formal education from a private school. What kind of education do you have?”

Jonathan shrugged. “A fair one.”

“Just fair? All right, can you sign your name to a document?”

He nodded. “Yes. But it’s not very legible. Some say it’s hard to read, sort of like chicken scratches.”

William chuckled. “Serenity writes with an elegant hand, Jonathan. It’s like art. You’ll need to work on that. Can you read?”

“Yes. But not very well. I probably need to work on that, too.”

“That’s encouraging. When she first arrived in America, Serenity was shocked to find so many adults who didn’t know how to read or how to sign their name. They would have to put the mark of an X for their signature. An education is important to her.”

“Do you have any suggestions?”

He nodded. “As a matter of fact, I do. You just might have a chance. Serenity teaches an evening class three times a week at the local school, from seven o’clock to eight-thirty. She teaches adults how to read and write. Sign up for her class and show Serenity how interested you are in education. That should get her attention.

As he gave some thought to the idea of bettering his education, Jonathan asked, “Do you really think that will work?”

So there you have it! A Lady of Refinement is the second book in the Women of Courage series that tells of courageous women who make a difference in their community, taken from true experiences.

A Lady of Refinement: Serenity teaches reading and writing to adults. She wonders if anyone can measure up to the heroes in her books. But the adventures soon become real after arriving in America.

When Jonathan meets Serenity, an educated and courageous woman from Wales, he becomes intrigued with her and wonders how he can win her heart. Her brother gives him some advice, but Jonathan begins to question his wisdom. Should he trust his friend or is he leading him astray?

Watch a book trailer.

This book is available on Amazon and Audible at

Writing and Arts

Chocolate Lovers and Chocolatiers

Did you know that chocolate is good for you? Not only mentally but health-wise? Research shows that chocolate has many benefits for the health of your heart, cognitive function, and helps with iron deficiency. Especially dark chocolate! If you’re a milk chocolate lover, it still helps.

In a controlled trial, it was found that eating dark chocolate daily for 30 days actually improved cognitive functioning such as learning, reasoning, thinking, and it improved the memory. Wow! I like those benefits. The researchers said it had something to do with “methylxanthines” in chocolate.

For those who may have iron deficiency, dark chocolate is a great source of iron. If you are low in iron, you may have fatigue and don’t have much energy to do your daily chores. But no worries! Fifty grams of dark chocolate has six milligrams of iron. If you have anemia, it is a great excuse to eat a chocolate bar daily.

But that’s not all! If you want a healthy heart, eat chocolate. Both dark and milk chocolate have cacao, which contains flavonoids. What are flavonoids? It helps to improve the health of your heart. Dark chocolate has a higher percent of cacao, though, because it is richer in flavonoids.

This next part may astound you. Chocolate is rich in magnesium. What is magnesium? It relaxes muscles that are tense. This is great news for women because it eases the pain of menstrual cramps. This may be the reason why many women crave chocolate. For those who have wives that are miserable during this time, give them a chocolate bar. Of course, dark chocolate has more milligrams of magnesium than milk chocolate. If you’re not a dark chocolate fan, milk chocolate is just fine when craving a treat.

I learned that chocolate was invented in the spring of 1765. Dr. James Baker and John Hannon who was an Irish immigrant made their first batch of chocolate by grinding cocoa beans between two massive circular millstones. After pouring the chocolate syrup into an iron kettle, they poured the liquid into molds to cool into blocks of chocolate. Soon the word spread that Baker and Hannon had a factory that produced chocolate bricks. The customers would shave strips of chocolate into boiled water to make cocoa syrup.

During the American Revolution, they struggled to keep the business going since they had to get the beans from the West Indies. In 1779, Hannon disappeared when he went on a voyage to the West Indies to buy more cocoa beans. With all these trials, Baker kept the business alive until the 1790s when he handed the family business over to his son Edmund. After a time, he in turn handed it over to his son Walter.

It was Walter who decided it was time to hire two young women to work for him. In 1834, Mary and Christiana Shields worked hard and helped his business grow. They were the first women Chocolatiers in America.

It was such fun to learn about the beginnings of chocolate and hot chocolate drinks. In my historical romance, The Light at the End of the Tunnel, Hannah is a chocolatier. It was her desire to own her own business. When she was questioned about a woman owning a business, this was her response.

Glancing at her shop, Thomas said, “It’s not easy opening your own business. Especially if you’re a woman. There’s a lot to take into consideration before plunging into such a thing. Do you know what you’re getting yourself into?”

“Don’t worry about me,” she said firmly. “I’ve done my research.”

When he raised his brow, Hannah knew that she had surprised him with such a curt answer. But she was so tired of defending herself and convincing everyone that she could make her own living. The last thing she wanted to do was work as a maid for the rest of her life.

Folding his arms over his broad chest, he asked, “What’s the name of your business and what are you going to sell?”

“I’m calling it: Hannah’s Hot Chocolate.”

So there you have it! The Light at the end of the Tunnel is the first book in a series called Women of Courage. This series tells of courageous women who make a difference in their community.

The Light at the end of the Tunnel  is about Hannah, a young single mother, who wants to make something of her life by opening a hot chocolate shop. She soon finds that starting her own business isn’t as easy as she thought. But she will not give up. She has had some hardships since arriving in America. But the trials in her life only make her stronger.

When Thomas finds out that Hannah’s shop is struggling, he comes to the rescue with a clever plan. Will she agree to such an unconventional idea? Can he convince her to find room in her heart for one more person?

Watch this Book Trailer and get in the mood of chocolate.

Check out this historical romance on Amazon or at Audible Audiobooks at

Writing and Arts

Understanding Holiday Traditions: Little Known Facts

When researching certain holidays for Holidays in Willow Valley, it was intriguing to find out how different they were in the 1800s compared to how we celebrate them today. I was amazed at the differences. After completing my novel, I decided to sit down and write about all the many holidays that we love and celebrate as a family today. The origin of many holidays may surprise you. How they got started may not be what you expected.

It is interesting to find out how each holiday tradition came about. It may astound you the reasoning behind each one. Our children have fun celebrating April Fools Day as they try to fool their friends, but why do we celebrate such an interesting day? Why do we get dressed up in costumes on Halloween night and go trick or treating? What was the inspiration behind this fun holiday?

Is it really true that the Puritans actually stopped the Americans from celebrating Christmas, a beloved holiday that we all cherish and love? Was it really outlawed? How can that be? On Memorial Day, who were the first people that placed flowers on the graves of the soldiers? It just may surprise you. Have you heard of Juneteenth, a very important part of history? When and where was the first time it was actually celebrated and why?

The answers to these questions may be surprising. The beginnings of each American Holiday have an interesting story to tell. Understanding Holiday Traditions: Little Known Facts will help you to appreciate holidays with a new perspective.

Sunnie Reviews wrote: “I really enjoyed reading the old and interesting traditions and beginnings of the various holidays we celebrate each year. It’s so fun to know and come to understand the events that led up to these becoming holidays and how each has a significant historical meaning. I enjoyed reading of a holiday that, as I grew up in Minnesota, was a holiday that was always celebrated there. That was May Day. I remember little baskets on my doorstep and giving some out as well. Then when we moved to California, I was sad that there was no celebration of that particular day. I enjoyed the vintage cards and the mentions of how different countries celebrated these days as well. A nice way to share the meaning of holidays to family members and to learn of their true meanings.”

Louise Pledge enjoyed Understanding Holiday Traditions and explained how she felt as she read it: “I feel that this book belongs in every home with children. Imagine the fun it would be to tell your kids the reasons they are celebrating these holidays.  And then make every holiday a little more special than usual. What I probably liked the most, though, was the old postcards from each one.  They were priceless!”

You may find this book on Amazon in paperback and in color.

Writing and Arts

Forgiveness is Essential for a Happy Life

Asking forgiveness

When we have been deeply hurt, it is hard to forgive those who have been rude and unkind. For some reason we tend to hold on to it. During this time in our life, we’re unhappy and just want the hurt to go away. Carrying a grudge can be a heavy burden and we tend to blame others for the way we feel.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “We are not perfect. The people around us are not perfect. People do things that annoy, disappoint, and anger. In this mortal life it will always be that way. Nevertheless, we must let go of our grievances. Part of the purpose of mortality is to learn how to let go of such things. That is the Lord’s way.”

It is said that to forgive is divine but if the person who hurt us isn’t asking forgiveness, we feel that we don’t have the strength to forgive them. We want to teach them a lesson by not being part of their lives any longer. Or… if they have apologized, we won’t forget what they said or did and we won’t have anything to do with them. Is that right? There is one problem with that sort of thinking. The hurt inside us still remains with us. It won’t go away. The only way for us to be happy again is to forgive those who have hurt us.

We all make mistakes and we’re not perfect. It’s important to forgive and be forgiven. The Lord wants us to be compassionate and forgive those who have done us wrong.

Jeffrey R. Holland said, “Let people repent. Let people grow. Believe that people can change and improve. Is that faith? Yes! Is that hope? Yes! Is it charity? Yes! Above all, it is charity, the pure love of Christ. If something is buried in the past, leave it buried. Don’t keep going back with your little sand pail and beach shovel to dig it up, wave it around, and then throw it at someone, saying: Hey! Do you remember this? Splat!”

If you’re not sure how to begin because the hurt is too deep, the best way is on your knees. As you talk to a loving Father in Heaven, list all the things you are grateful for and don’t stop until your heart is filled with love. He hears our prayers and responds to our gratitude. I have done it and it works. During this time on your knees, talk to him about forgiving those who have hurt you. It is amazing how happy you will feel by the end of your prayers.

Let me tell you a true story, a personal experience that happened to me. In my youth, I was bullied by those who were popular in school. Many years later after I was married, I received an anonymous card one day. The return address said: “A Walk to Remember.” This was the name of a novel written by Nicholas Sparks, which had been made into a movie about a young girl who was bullied by her peers in high school. As a popular young man gets to know her, he finally realizes that she has wonderful qualities and regrets having been rude and judgmental towards her.

Curious about the interesting return address, I opened the envelope and pulled the card out. On the outside of the card, it said, “Thank you and God bless you.”

I opened the card and found these amazing words printed inside: “You are a beautiful woman and I’m sure a very good mom. Just as this card says, thank you… for putting up with all the crap everyone dished out at you in high school. Especially me. We could have been friends. I thought I was someone and have realized I’m really no one special or important. At least, not better than you, by no means. Thank you for letting me ease a guilty conscience! May God bless you.”

Tears filled my eyes as I read these beautiful words. Why was I the recipient of such a wonderful message? I realized that, as time passes, we tend to look at life differently than we did in our youth. Our opinions change and we see our faults and wish we could change our past if we had the chance. But since we can’t, then we try to make up to those we have wronged. The movie, A Walk to Remember, now has a special meaning to me.

When I told my brother about the card I received, he said, “I think I know who he might be. As I remember, he was so mean to you.”

I instantly stopped him and said, “I don’t want to know. I need to forgive everyone. It’s better this way. Besides, I know I wasn’t the only one being bullied at school.”

John H. Groberg said, “When filled with God‘s love… we can endure pain, quell fear, forgive freely, avoid contention, renew strength, and bless and help others in ways surprising even to us.”

May we always try to forgive those who have wronged us! May we always reach out to those we were unkind to and beg their forgiveness!

As Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “We are not perfect. The people around us are not perfect.” But we can learn to forgive. Don’t you think?

Realizing forgiveness is an important subject, I sat down and wrote Jenny’s Dream, a historical romance. In Jenny’s Dream, Jenny is an aspiring author. She has a dream to fulfill, but the only thing standing in her way is an unpleasant memory, which has haunted her since childhood. She must learn to forgive before she can follow her dream.

Watch the Book Trailer below. 

This book can be purchased at Amazon and Audible audiobooks.

Find the audiobook at Audible:

A paperback or eBook at Amazon is below.

Writing and Arts

Love and Courtship

It is so interesting to learn how people fall in love. Everyone’s courtship is so different. Some people marry their childhood sweetheart. Others meet over the Internet. And there are those who go on a blind date, not knowing what to expect. Some say it was love at first sight. Another says she didn’t much care for him. After getting to know one another better, all that changed.

In my case, my husband and I met at college but it was nothing more than friendship. He dated my girlfriend and we ran around with the same group of friends. The following year I moved to another college and then served the Lord for 18 months in Colorado and Texas. After being away for three years, I moved back home and we renewed our friendship.

When my mother asked me if he was the right one, I quickly answered, “Of course not. We’re just friends, Mom. Nothing more. Besides, we don’t have that much in common.”

Little did I know that was going to change! As we got to know one another, his humor and charm pulled me into his world. Gradually my feelings of friendship changed to romance, something I did not expect.

How did you meet your spouse? Was it a long-term relationship or was it love at first sight? Did a friend introduce you and tell you that he or she was perfect for you? That was the case with my mother. Her friend introduced her to my father but it was not the conventional way. It was through letters.

Doris accused Mom of being too picky. No man seemed to match up to the standards she wanted. After dating for a month or two, she would stop dating the young man because he just wasn’t the right one. One fellow actually proposed to her but she kindly turned him down.

One day Doris asked her what she was looking for so she could help her find the right man. Mom replied, “I will only marry a righteous man, a man who is musically talented, and a red head.” Mom’s reply made her friend laugh. Was she trying to make her job of searching for the “right one” harder? Apparently she was partial to redheads.

At that time, Doris was teaching school in southern Idaho, a day’s journey by car. After much thought, she decided that the custodian of the school might be the right catch for her friend. Doris had gotten to know Marcus quite well and liked him. He was a good man and owned his own farm. He played the guitar and had a beautiful deep bass voice. As for the color of his hair, it was auburn. That was close enough! To Doris, he was the perfect match for her friend. The year was 1941 and there was no such thing as the Internet back then.

As they wrote to one another, Mom learned more about him than a person would by dating because it was easier to express oneself and talk about one’s innermost feelings about life. It was a different way of communicating than she was used to. They never sent a photo of themselves to one another, but that didn’t make a difference. What was said in their letters was what really mattered.

With each letter he wrote, she found herself entranced by his beautiful words. Without a doubt she was falling for this mysterious man, someone she had never met. Finally it was agreed upon that they meet, so Mom hopped on the train and headed to southern Idaho. Doris picked her up at the train station and that night they went to the old Persiana Dance Hall so she could meet the man she had been writing to for about a year.

When they arrived at the Dance Hall, Mom waited anxiously with butterflies in her stomach and great anticipation. What did he look like? Would he be as romantic in person as his letters? Her heart would not slow down as she waited for his arrival.

When Marcus finally walked through the doors of the building, their eyes met. She wrote: “I didn’t know what he looked like, but when he came across the dance floor, my heart jumped and a warm glow filled my soul. He introduced himself and I knew he was the right one.”

As for my father, he stood gazing at her, feeling nervous and excited. He had never expected her to look so lovely. Dad expressed how he felt about Mom as he wrote: “I dreamed I met a girl Saturday night, a perfect girl whom I had been thinking of, who far surpassed my imagination. (In plain words, she was just much better than I thought she could be.) As we swept over the floor to the rhythm of the music I was in love with her from that moment.”

Mom was very picky and didn’t give many men a chance. But she finally found the man she was searching for… through letters.

After learning about their courtship, I decided to write a story about a couple who met through letters that was just as romantic, giving her the same feelings that my mother once had while searching for the right man. Although in my story, the young man just happens to live in the same town.

In Edith and the Mysterious Stranger, Edith has wonderful qualities but never gives a man a second chance because her expectations are so high. However, all that changes when a mysterious stranger starts writing to her. For the first time, she gets to know a man’s inner soul before making any harsh judgments. Whoever he is, this man is a mystery and the best thing that has ever happened to her. The question that puzzles her is whether or not he is as wonderful in person as he is in his letters.

To give my story authenticity, I decided to borrow some of my father’s letters and use them in my story. They were so romantic that I just couldn’t help it. I only used just a few of them… my favorites. Will writing letters to Edith work? Read the book and find out.

Watch the Book Trailer.

This book can be purchased at Amazon and Audible audiobooks.


Writing and Arts

Can Our Ancestors Teach Us To Appreciate Life?

We all have trials in life and we sometimes wonder if we can ever get through them. Then we get an awakening, something that helps us to appreciate the trials we do have. If given a choice, we would probably choose the problems we have rather than someone else’s hardships. Why is this?

One day when I was feeling blue, my mother took me aside and told me about a young woman who made the most of her life. Most everyone loved her because of her good nature. I wondered why my mother thought so highly of her and I soon found out.

With great affection in her voice, Mother told me that her grandmother, Sarah Eckersley Robinson, was a little over a year old when her parents left England on the ship Palmyra. On the trip, Sarah became ill. Her fever skyrocketed and her parents were worried they were going to lose their little daughter. It was a miracle that she made it through the illness.

When her mother noticed something was wrong, her father shot off a gun into the air and she did not respond. Her fever was so high that she had lost her hearing. Sarah was deaf.

As Sarah grew, her mother taught her sign language and she soon was able to communicate with others. I didn’t realize they taught sign language at such an early time in history. In fact, I was surprised to learn that the first American School for the Deaf was founded in Hartford, Connecticut in 1817. Soon more and more schools began teaching the deaf, giving them an education.

I asked my mother how Sarah communicated with others because not everyone knows sign language. What kind of education did she get? Did Sarah find lip reading easy or difficult?

According to a friend who lost her hearing, she said that sometimes she would misunderstand what someone said because some people form their words differently. Beards are especially a problem. If they are not well trimmed, it isn’t as easy to see their lips as they form their words.

My mother told me that her grandmother was able to live a fairly normal life. She was a good swimmer and would dive with such poise and grace that passersby would toss coins in the water, just to watch her dive after them.

Sarah Eckersley Robinson

Sarah grew to be a beautiful young woman with black hair and blue eyes. She loved going to parties. The boys enjoyed dancing with her because she danced so gracefully. She would glide across the floor with the music, not missing a step. Even though she was considered deaf, she may have heard the low deep tones of the band or feel the beat and vibrations of the music. Either way, she was a graceful dancer.

Sarah was not a timid young lady. She had spunk and courage. She always listened to the spirit of the Lord and followed the promptings given her. After returning home one day, Sarah sensed the presence of someone in the house. Acting quickly, she grabbed her broom and began searching. She had a feeling to check her bedroom, but when she entered the room no one was in sight. She carefully stepped to her bed, lifted the ruffle, and looked under. There she found a man crouched and waiting for Sarah, but he was not prepared for a strong and determined woman with a weapon in her hands.

With all the strength she had, Sarah whacked him out from under the bed with her broom. She then pummeled him over the head again and again. Realizing what he was up against, he ran from the house. Chasing after him, she continued beating him as he ran down the street. Sarah had spirit and no doubt this wicked man thought he could take advantage of her, but he found out differently. He did not expect such courage and fled.

Sarah’s faith in God was amazing. Can our ancestors teach us to appreciate life? I believe they can with their examples and trust in God.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “It is often in the trial of adversity that we learn those most critical lessons that form our character and shape our destiny.”

Dallin H. Oaks said,Adversities are temporary. What is permanent is what we become by the way we react to them.”

My great grandmother’s faith and courage touched my heart, and she was the inspiration for my historical romance: Sarah’s Special Gift. In this novel, Sarah is a beautiful and successful dance teacher. But she is not like other young ladies. She is deaf, but this does not stop her from living life to its fullest. While visiting the Roberts family, David finds himself entranced with this very special lady and ends up defending her honor several times. He finds that Sarah has gone through many trials as she teaches him how to love life.

Allison King, from Allison’s Attic, wrote: “The romantic friction between David and Sarah is central to a story that will have you cheering for them to get together! This is a heart-warming story of finding that right person to live the rest of your life with. It teaches us that people with disabilities are just like any other person who has dreams for their life. So, if you want to laugh, learn and live in the life of some wonderful characters… read this book and enjoy the journey!”

Watch the Book Trailer on Vimeo. 

This book can be purchased as an eBook, paperback, or as an audiobook at Amazon and Audible.

Writing and Arts

Women Doctors and Bobbed Hair Were Not Acceptable

Once again I am amazed at the different things I learn while doing a little research for one of my historical novels. While writing Elena, Woman of Courage, I did some research for the 1920s, which was the time period of my novel. In this new era, women openly expressed their opinions and wanted to be heard. The roaring twenties was a time of jazz, the raising of hemlines, sleek skirts, long beads down to the waist, and bobbed hair. The youth loved the new styles but the elderly shook their heads in despair. What was this new generation coming to?

Bobbing ones hair was the new style but it caused a lot of commotion and discontent. When a teacher in Jersey City decided the style was adorable and bobbed her hair, the school board ordered her to grow it back. The board said that women wasted their time fussing around with the bobbed hairstyle, and the teacher would be fired if she didn’t grow it back. At one prestigious department store, women who bobbed their hair and raised their hemlines were actually fired. In the newspaper, they reported that a preacher pounded the pulpit, saying that a “bobbed woman was a disgraced woman.” I even read that it caused many a divorce.

But that wasn’t the only time women had to fight for their rights. During the 1800s, young women were supposed to prepare for marriage and think about raising a family. They had private tutors and were taught needlework and the rules of etiquette. Most were not expected to get an education beyond high school. Some didn’t think it was necessary and others did not have the money to send their daughters to a university. But there were some families who sent their daughters to college and wanted them to be educated. I soon discovered that women were not allowed to get a degree in some fields of education, though. Some degrees were strictly for men.

Elizabeth Blackwell disagreed with the university’s rules. She was a very determined woman who challenged those rules. She wanted to get an education in medicine and help those less fortunate. What was her desire? She wanted to become a doctor. Unfortunately, women could not get a medical degree but that did not stop her. She had a dream and was bound to make that dream come true.

When Elizabeth entered college, she demanded her rights. The Geneva Medical College in New York felt that women should get their education in the degrees specified for women and would not budge. After much coercion and putting pressure on the university, the school board finally gave in. It wasn’t because they believed in her. They did it as a joke and to teach her and other women a lesson. They figured she would fail miserably and thereby let all women know that it was not a woman’s place in society. But Elizabeth fooled the university president and the faculty. She graduated at the top of her class. It surprised everyone.

Elizabeth Blackwell became the first female doctor in the United States. After her graduation in 1849, she sadly found that no hospital would hire her because she was a woman. But this did not stop her. Elizabeth organized her own clinic in New York and helped many people. But that was not all. She opened a medical college for women where they could have the opportunity to get an education in the medical field.

In 1850, Lydia Folger Fowler was the second woman who graduated with a medical degree at Central Medical College in Syracuse, New York. She was the only female graduate that day. After her graduation, the college appointed her as the Principal of the Female Department and also a Professor of Midwifery and Diseases of Women and Children, making her the first female Professor of Medicine in the United States. Lydia was the first American-born woman to become a doctor in America whereas Elizabeth was born in England and later on went back to England to continue her medical practice. These two women made history with their determination to get a degree in medicine.

It wasn’t easy on a family financially to send a daughter to college. Most families sent their sons to college first so they could provide for a family later on. When I found out that my grandmother graduated from college with a nursing degree in 1904, I was grateful that her father was so supportive. In her autobiography, she mentions the many lives that she saved and helped bring into this world during her lifetime.

After my research, I created a historical romance with plenty of humor. Elena, Woman of Courage takes place during the Roaring 20s. It was a time of great change. Women raised their hemlines and bobbed their hair. When Elena Yeates settles into a small western town as the newest doctor, a few problems arise. The town is not ready for a female doctor, let alone one so strong and independent. She must struggle against the prejudice to establish her new practice. As she fights to prove herself, the town’s most eligible bachelor finds it a challenge to see if he can win her heart.

Watch the Book Trailer below.

Elena, Woman of Courage can be purchased through Amazon and Audible Audiobooks.

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Writing and Arts

The Amazing Ice Palace and the Elusive Butch Cassidy

I am always amazed at the different things I learn while doing a little research for one of my historical fiction novels. While writing Melinda and the Wild West, I did some research for the year of 1896, which was the time period of my novel. It was so intriguing to find out that an Ice Palace had been built in Leadville, Colorado at that time and people from all over the country traveled there to see this magnificent sight.

In order to draw tourists to this mining town, the citizens decided to build a huge tourist attraction. So they hired Architect Charles E. Jay, who had designed an ice castle in Saint Paul, Minnesota. With the help of around 250 men, they began their project on November 1, 1895 to construct the palace. It was made of five thousand tons of ice blocks formed into the shape of a magnificent palace, which stood on five acres of land. Its towers were over 90 feet tall by 40 feet wide, and the palace measured at over 58,000 square feet.

After 36 days, it was completed. As a finishing touch to this palace, the walls were sprayed with water in order to freeze the blocks together so they wouldn’t come apart. To add a glow to this storybook world, it was illuminated with electric lights that sparkled against the ice block walls. In the daytime, the sun shone against the ice, making the walls sparkle. Inside the palace were several rooms. There was a gaming room, a restaurant, an ice rink, a ballroom, a theatre, toboggan runs, and a carousel house.

On January 1, 1896, the Ice Palace was opened for business. The word spread quickly and the local railroads promoted the attraction by giving special rates to its customers. More than 250,000 visitors attended between January and March. Admission into the palace was fifty cents for adults and twenty-five cents for children. In March of 1896, this magnificent palace began melting. The last event that was held there was a maypole skating party on May Day. That was such an interesting bit of history.

Since my book takes place in Bear Lake Valley in Montpelier and Paris, Idaho, I did some research about that area. I learned some interesting facts about Butch Cassidy, a notorious outlaw, who had robbed the Montpelier Bank in 1896. Local Bear Lake Historian Pat Wilde wrote Treasured Tidbits of Time, telling about the details of that bank robbery.

Butch Cassidy was an interesting fellow. He referred to himself as the “Robin Hood of the West,” taking from the rich and giving to the poor. Cassidy actually wrote, “The best way to hurt them is through their pocket book. They will holler louder than if you cut off both legs. I steal their money just to hear them holler. Then I pass it out among those who really need it.” He proclaimed that he was fighting for the settlers’ rights against the rich cattle baron.

Every year, Montpelier puts on a reenactment of the bank robbery for the public, exactly how it was described by the banker. Picture this scene as it was recorded.

Four men entered the building with sober faces. The two in front were the Bank President and his friend who had been chatting on the steps outside the bank. Behind them were two men dressed like cowhands. As they entered, the men in front stiffened and the fear in their eyes was obvious. The only people in the bank were a woman stenographer and a male teller by the name of Mackintosh. As one of the cowboys closed the door behind them, everyone could see a gun pointed at the banker’s back.

It was interesting to find out that Butch Cassidy was born in Utah and was raised by religious parents. When he was a teenager, he went astray and left home to ride with the outlaws, taking on the name of his mentor. Cassidy was known for his charm and quick wit, not to mention his fearlessness and bravery. He had an air of authority about him and no one could mistake that he was the leader of The Wild Bunch.

His partner in crime, Elza Lay, was a tall, slender, handsome man known for being a top bronco rider and ranch hand. He was a flirtatious sort of fellow and seemed to have a way with women and horses. Outside the bank was a third partner. Meeks was holding the horses and waiting across the street.

Elza Lay casually pointed his revolver at his hostages while Cassidy quickly scooped up the money into a gunnysack. To their surprise, there was only $7,000 in the bank. Cassidy held the gunnysack in a casual manner and slowly walked outside, closing the door behind him. He walked nonchalantly across the street as if he did not have a care in the world. After fastening the gunnysack to his saddlebags, he climbed upon his horse and rode slowly away. No one seemed to take notice of the stranger or suspect anything was wrong as he rode down the street and out of town.

Everything was planned down to the last moment. Cassidy apparently never acted without a well-staked-out plan. After he was out of town, Meeks moved across the street toward the bank with the remaining horses and left Lay’s horse standing in front of the bank. Then Meeks climbed on his horse and slowly rode away. Once again, no one took notice of the second stranger riding down the road.

Through the bank window, Lay watched Meeks ride out of town. It was now his turn to leave. After closing the door to the bank, he quickly hopped on his horse and headed down the street.

When Mr. Gray, the Bank President, ran outside and alerted everyone, it seemed as if all pandemonium erupted. Deputy Fred Cruikshank took off on his bicycle for home so he could saddle up his horse. Attorney Bagley followed after him, while Sheriff Jefferson Davis called for a posse.

Watching all the activity in town, Macintosh figured the “thirteenth” was the cause of it all. You see, it happened on the thirteenth day of the month. It took place after the thirteenth deposit had been made in the amount of thirteen dollars. And the robbery transpired at thirteen minutes after three o’clock.

So what do you think? Did it happen because of the unlucky number 13? And did Butch Cassidy get away? He and his gang were never caught.

Page One Literary Book Review wrote about Melinda and the Wild West: “Linda Weaver Clarke displays an easy and excellent style of writing, blending adventure, romance, history, humor and courage. Melinda and the Wild West is an instant classic and should put this author on the literary map all over the world.”

Melinda and the Wild West can be purchased through Amazon and Audible Audio Books.

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Writing and Arts

Have You Made A New Year’s Resolution?

A New Year’s resolution can inspire you to do something you have been putting off. Have you ever considered writing your parent’s and grandparent’s biography? How about writing your own autobiography? Make it your New Year’s Resolution.

Why should you write your family history? Writing your family stories can help you appreciate your heritage. Each of us has a story from our ancestors or even our own story to tell. If these stories are unwritten, how are your children going to know their heritage or family traditions? Will these stories and traditions be lost to your children because no one put them down on paper? It’s up to you to write down these experiences so your children can be proud of their heritage.

This will be the beginning of a marvelous journey for you. You will learn things about them that you didn’t even know.

Whether you’re writing about a loved one or your own story, you might feel that it is overwhelming and aren’t sure how to begin. If you have an inspiring story to tell or intriguing incident to relate, perhaps writing each experience as a short story would be easier for you, rather than writing the stories in chronological order. Each chapter could be a short story.

How do you begin? How do you write your story to make it interesting? First thing to do is introduce your ancestor. You can begin with a humorous incident for your first chapter. That will easily grab the attention of your reader.

As you tell a hilarious incident, don’t forget to describe your relative. What does he or she look like? This way the reader can picture his grandfather in his mind.

How do you make the story interesting? The best way is putting yourself in their shoes. Adding feeling to your story is very important. If you don’t weep while telling a sad story, then write it again. If you don’t laugh during a funny incident, then rewrite it. You need to touch your own heart first before you’ll touch the hearts of your readers. How do you go about this? You must describe how your ancestor must have felt. It’s important to add feelings of joy, enthusiasm, fear, laughter, or even frustration to your story. If you’re writing your own story, tell how you felt as you tell about an incident that happened to you.

If you were scared, did your knees shake? Did your heart beat rapidly? Did you tremble? When my grandmother wrote about some experiences she had in her journal, I was impressed with how she described her emotions. This is what she wrote:

“I took to the center of the road as it was darker on the walks and I didn’t like to get too near those weird looking factory buildings and alleys on both sides of the silent streets. Presently I heard footsteps. I saw a man following me. As I hurried, he also did. My tongue became dry and fear seized me. I prayed as I ran. I not only ran but I flew. How I crossed that tiny footbridge, I never knew! But I couldn’t feel the touch of the ground under my feet as I sped onward. With my Bible clutched tightly under my arm, I had left the man, downs, and everything behind, and was soon on the lighted highway and home.”

That was a great description of fear. If you have written your own autobiography or your grandparent’s account of a fearful experience, read it again and notice if you added “emotion” to your story. This makes it hard for the reader to put down the book.

If you were frustrated about something, did your face turn red? Did you stomp your foot? Did you throw your hands in the air? How about feelings of love? Your children would absolutely love to find out how you felt about your spouse when you first met. When I asked my mother what it was like when she first met my father, this is what she told me. “When our eyes met, my heart leapt within me and a warm glow filled my soul.” I was so impressed with her description.

When I read my father’s account, this was what he wrote: “All I remember is a wonderful perfect dream that goes through my mind like a marathon night and day. I dreamed I met a girl Saturday night, a perfect girl whom I had been thinking of, who far surpassed my imagination. As we swept over the floor to the rhythm of the music I was in love with her from that moment.”

This description touched my heart. How would your children respond when they read your feelings of love toward your spouse? This is something to think about.

Remember! Emotions, feelings, moods, and describing how you felt are very important. It brings a story to life. It helps the reader to become part of the story and it will be hard to put the book down. What is the secret of grabbing your reader’s attention? You must put yourself in their shoes.

Don’t forget to add photos! They also tell a story. Remember to scan your pictures at 300 dpi for the best resolution.

There are many places to publish your book but my favorite is Kindle Direct Publishing, which is an Amazon company. You don’t have to pay anything upfront. It is absolutely free and it’s posted on Amazon. When you’re ready to buy a book, you only pay for the printing cost. For a 104-page black and white paperback, I only pay $2.15 per copy. For a 93-page color paperback, I pay $4.20 a copy. Amazon charges shipping but it’s charged by the weight of the items.

Begin today. Start writing your parent’s biography, your grandparent’s biography, and your own autobiography. Trust me. It’ll be fun.

Writing and Arts

The Future Belongs to Us

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882) wrote: “The future belongs to those who prepare for it.”

Life is full of choices. What we do with those choices decides our future. We must develop our talents and acquire skills, gain knowledge and learn the lessons of life … no matter what age we are. To achieve our goals, we must work hard by studying and learning all we can. Our goal is to take one step at a time until our dream is fulfilled. We should not compare ourselves to others, noticing their achievements and how quickly they obtained them. We should be concerned with our own growth.

Hugh B. Brown (1883 – 1975) said, “We are not endeavoring to get ahead of others, but to surpass ourselves.”

We must decide what our goal is, work hard, pay the price, and never give up. Helen Keller (1880 – 1968) said, “We can do anything we want to if we stick to it long enough.”

Helen Keller is a good example to us all. She was deaf and blind but never let that stop her progress. She didn’t want to be ignorant or live a life of mediocrity. She wanted to rise above her circumstances.

Elizabeth Stanton is another example of perseverance. She spoke out for women’s rights. She said that women should have the right to vote and receive equal education. Elizabeth had received a higher education at Troy Seminary in New York and felt all women deserved the right to be educated.

When she gave lectures on the subject, it was frowned upon. A pastoral letter from a minister in Massachusetts said a woman who speaks publicly is “unwomanly and unchristian.” The pastor also mentioned that it would “threaten the female character with widespread and permanent injury.” Why were women being held back? Even though it was not proper, she still gave her opinions.

Elizabeth was also an abolitionist and fought adamantly against slavery, prejudice, and inequality but it was not readily accepted. When Elizabeth Stanton went with her husband to a convention in England that was against slavery, she tried to give her opinion but was put down and told that women were not permitted to give speeches. It was solely a man’s place to speak publicly. She didn’t let that stop her. She fought for Women’s Rights for years.

Life is full of choices. When we have challenges in our lives, we wonder if we made the right choice, if we should have done something different. How would life have turned out if we had chosen another direction?

It touched my heart when I read my great grandmother’s experiences. Hannah and her husband came here to America in the mid-1800s for a better life. On the ship from England, Hannah’s one-year-old daughter became very ill, which resulted in deafness. One year after arriving in America, Hannah gave birth to a baby boy but she was not meant to have him long. He died six weeks later. The following year, the sheriff came to her door and announced that her husband had been murdered on the streets of St. Louis, Missouri. Realizing she had to make a living for her children, Hannah took a job as a maid at the largest hotel in St. Louis, hoping to earn enough money to move on.

When her family heard the news, they volunteered to pay for her passage if she returned. But she made the choice to stay. What a courageous woman! If I were Hannah, would I have doubted my decision to go to America? Would I have turned around and headed back to my family in England?

After five years, Hannah had earned enough money to board a riverboat and head northward, far away from St. Louis. That was when she met a wonderful man who fell in love with her. My great grandmother is an example to me. If I were in her shoes, I wonder if I would have had that much courage. Life is full of choices.

Spencer W. Kimball said, “Life gives to all the choice. You can satisfy yourself with mediocrity if you wish. You can be common, ordinary, dull, colorless; or you can channel your life so that it will be clean, vibrant, progressive, useful, colorful, rich.” (“Lesson 35: Wise Choices,” Young Women Manual, 1993, 134)

As we study and learn, we build character, qualities that make us distinctive. We must find out what kind of person we truly are. We might even find hidden talents we didn’t even know we had.

William James O´Shea said, “Character development is the great, if not the sole, aim of education.” (Richard Evan’s Quote Book, Publishers Press, 1971, p. 76.)

Character development is an important part of life. That’s when we learn integrity, wisdom, responsibility, discipline, and to overcome prejudice. Our intellectual growth is as important as our spiritual growth.

David O. McKay said, “True education does not consist merely in the acquiring of a few facts of science, history, literature, or art; but in the development of character.” (Conference Report, April 1928, 102)

While hard work is important, attitude makes a person successful. If we have a deep belief in our cause, then we can accomplish anything. Men aren’t great by accident. It takes hard work and a belief in yourself. If we trip a few times along the way and feel foolish, don’t let it bother you.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “Our destiny is not determined by the number of times we stumble but by the number of times we rise up, dust ourselves off, and move forward.”

Our life is full of choices. What we make of our life is up to us. The important thing is to do the best we can with what we’ve got. Remember that intellectual learning is as valuable as character development.

“Our business in life is not to get ahead of others but to get ahead of ourselves. To break our own record, to outstrip our yesterdays by today, to bear our trials more beautifully than we ever dreamed we could, to give as we never have given, to do our work with more force and a finer finish than ever. This is the true objective. And to accomplish this task, our attitude is reflected in a determination to make the most of our opportunities.” ~ Thomas S Monson (1927 – 2018)

In Reflections of the Heart, I give inspirational advice for all ages. You will learn the secret of happiness and how to deal with the trials in your life. Does music really soothe the soul and help you when you’re frustrated? Does it matter what kind of music you listen to? Is laughter really the best medicine? If so, how does it make a difference in your life? How important is it to develop your spirituality? These are the subjects discussed in this book.

Writing and Arts

Searching for Happiness

Everyone is seeking true happiness in their lives. To be truly happy is a great mystery to many, as they search for joy in everyday life. I would like to list a few things to consider that have to do with happiness.

First! Does “love” have anything to do with our joy? Victor Hugo (1802 – 1885) seems to think so. He said, “The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.”

Yes, it is a joy to be loved, but I feel greater joy when I show my love to family, friends, or neighbors. I find that I’m the happiest when I’m thinking of their comfort.

Second! A sincere smile or greeting as we pass someone is something to consider. Have you ever thought about greeting someone you don’t know? What kind of reaction would you get? When someone smiles my way and greets me, it makes me feel “on top of the world.” I suspect it’s because friendliness uplifts us and makes us feel warm inside.

When someone goes out of his way to greet me, it feels mighty good. Smiles are contagious. They tend to spread from person to person. Test it out. Smile at a baby and see what happens. That little babe will automatically smile back.

Did you know that a frown uses eighty-seven muscles? To smile, we only use thirteen. With those thirteen muscles we can uplift someone.

Whether or not true joy can be found in just a simple greeting, you can’t deny the fact that a smile can make a difference in our lives. Perhaps one of the secrets of happiness is smiling.

“Those who bring sunshine into the life of others cannot keep it from themselves.” –James Matthew Barrie (1860 – 1937)

Third! I’ve heard that laughter is the “best medicine” when you’re feeling down. I notice that if I tell a funny story and make someone laugh, I wish I could tell another one. Laughter makes us feel good inside.

The Reader’s Digest said, “Scientific evidence has shown that laughter helps people breathe easier and it massages the heart and other vital organs.” (The Healing Power of Laughter, Reader’s Digest, 2010)

Some scientists believe that it can even guard against illness. If this is true, then laughter is definitely the best medicine. The Reader’s Digest went on to say, “In experiments, students who watched funny movies were found to have an increased flow of infection-fighting proteins in their saliva.” In other words, we’re healthier when we’re laughing.

These scientists did some research and found that happy optimistic people have less health problems and live longer compared to pessimistic people.

Fourth! How about hugs? Have you ever thought about the importance of wrapping your arms around someone and giving them a squeeze? What if someone is feeling down and needs a hug to show that you care. How about hugging your spouse goodbye before he or she leaves for work? Children especially need hugs.

I read an interesting article about hugging. A family therapist said that four hugs a day is for survival and eight keeps a child in good health. Hugging actually boosts the oxytocin levels in our bodies, which has been proven to relieve stress and anxiety. It also strengthens the immune system. Perhaps hugs are another answer in our search for happiness.

Kasley Killam said she wanted to help her fellow classmates at college during a difficult time. She said: “During my final semester of undergrad, I made two signs that read, “Feeling stressed about exams? Have a free hug!” Then I recruited a friend and we stood in the entrance of the campus library, held up the signs, and waited. Passersby had one of two reactions: Either they quickly looked down at their phones and awkwardly shuffled by, or their faces lit up as they embraced us. Most people were enthusiastic. Some exclaimed, “You made my day!” or “Thank you. I needed this.” One leapt into my arms, nearly toppling me over. After two hours of warm interactions, my friend and I couldn’t believe how energized and happy we felt.” (Kasley Killam, “A hug a day keeps the doctor away”, Scientific American, March 17, 2015)

What a wonderful idea that Kasley came up with! I love it.

Fifth! Serving others will make a difference in our lives. Rabindranath Tagore (1861 – 1941) wrote, “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was duty. I acted, and behold—duty was joy.”

What is duty? Webster Dictionary says it’s “something that you must do because it is morally right.” Is “duty” feeling responsible for someone? Do we feel a duty to help others or do we try to give an excuse to get out of it?

Royden Derrick said, “Happiness is a by-product of helping others. No man ever finds happiness by thinking of himself. True happiness comes when we lose ourselves in the service of others—when we are merciful to our fellowmen.” (Royden G. Derrick, “The Beatitudes and Our Perfection”, Ensign Magazine, May 1977, 57)

Serving those in need can bring us undeniable joy. Can we make a difference in the lives of others or in our community? Each one of us can definitely make a difference by showing unselfish love to those in need.

Novelist Mary Ann Evans (1819 – 1880) wrote, “What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other.”

This poem describes true happiness to me. It’s one of my favorites and still is.


Actually, I couldn’t say

What made this such a lovely day.

The air was chill, the clouds hung low,

Yet it was lovely—that I know.

Perhaps it was because someone

Smiled my way and brought the sun;

Maybe it was only that

A friend stopped for a little chat;

Or that a neighbor passing by

Called a warm and friendly “hi!”

Possibly it’s special glow

Came from helping one I know—

Not much really—Just a hand

To let him know I understand.

Nothing happened, actually,

To set this day apart for me.

Things went along the usual way—

But oh, it’s been a lovely day! —Anonymous


Searching For True Happinessis an inspirational and uplifting book with Christian values. Available as paperback, eBook, and audiobook. Everyone is seeking for true happiness in their lives. To be truly happy is a great mystery to many, as they search for joy in everyday life. In this book, you will learn specific things that will bring you true happiness. Sunny Reviews wrote: “I listened to this Audible version today. I think I needed it, too. Feeling a bit “not as happy as I would like to be” due to health issues that seemed to linger way too long. After reading this book, I felt uplifted and had more hope. The author tells of her own personal trials, as well as those of family members, and how they overcame.” Author Brooke Williams wrote: “If more people took the advice from this book and used it to its fullest, the world would be a different place.” It is available on Amazon and Audible:

Writing and Arts

A Christmas Miracle

Do you believe in miracles? Some may say they have never seen a miracle before. But if you really look around and take notice, it may surprise you how many you have seen in a lifetime. Russell M. Nelson said, “Seek and expect miracles… Every book of scripture demonstrates how willing the Lord is to intervene in the lives of those who believe in Him. The Lord will bless you with miracles if you believe in Him, doubting nothing… Prayerfully ask God to help you exercise that kind of faith.”

I would like to share a Christmas story that was written by Opal H. Clarke. It is a true story of love and miracles… of faith and hope.

Don’t Let Him Die

I first became aware of my twelve year old son, George’s, illness when the choppy rendition at the piano of “Hark! The Herald Angels sing,” had stopped. Glancing at him, his head resting on the piano, I asked, “What’s wrong?”

He replied, “I don’t feel good.” As he looked up I saw his cheeks were flushed; on closer inspection it proved to be a fine rash. He had a temperature. I called our family doctor and described the symptoms. He said it sounded like the measles that were going around and he prescribed a well-known drug.

The next day, George complained of his eyes hurting. Blisters began to appear on his ears and lips, and his temperature rose. After sitting by his side for several hours, I had to leave the room momentarily. As I returned, the sight was so shocking. I rushed from the room, dropped to the floor and cried. George had rubbed all the skin from his blistered lips. His ears, neck and face were a mass of blisters, with one large blister hanging like a sac on one side of his face. George did not sleep. He kept asking us to please turn out the lights. It was frightening to hear him ask this; there was only a small night-light burning and I had a small folded towel over his eyes.

Upon our arrival at the hospital, we were taken to an isolation room. As the ambulance attendant lifted my son onto the bed, the large blister on his face, a hanging sac of sloshing fluid broke.

Now, lying naked on the sterile sheets, coughing and choking, his body a mass of blisters and skinless places, he looked like someone wearing an ugly mask. I wanted to cry out, “No! No!” But I prayed that for my son’s sake my voice would be calm.

Nothing could have torn me away from my son at this time; so I was given a hospital gown and a mask. The next few days were crucial ones. Large areas of skin that had gone dark and looked as if they were scalded, pushed off from George’s back and he stuck to the sheets. The skin, pushed up on his upper arm, looked like a wrinkled nylon stocking. George’s mouth and throat were blistered, as well as the bronchial tubes, and he was coughing constantly. I covered my face, put my head on the windowsill and fought the tears.

The eye doctor said the eyes were blistered, even on the cornea, and added, “If he comes along—we may not be able to save his eyes.” It came to me that my son might be blind!

A new nurse coming in to put drops in George’s eyes, leaned over him and said, “George, I have something to put in your eyes. Can you turn your head this way?” She leaned over, and as he turned his face with its black-rimmed hole for a mouth, one side of his face practically skinless, and skinless ears—all this was too much for this nurse. She became nauseous, gagged and hurriedly left the room.

One night, two couples were standing in the hall. One of the men looked in at George and gasped. When his wife stepped over to where he was standing, he led her away, remarking, “You do not want to see that.”

Each time the doctor entered the room, he would greet my son with, “How are you George?”

George would answer, “Pretty good.” Always pretty good.

At one time the doctor looked at him and said, “You are a game little guy!” There were tears in his eyes.

He asked me if I was praying. I assured him I was. He also asked if his name could be put in the temple so those who were there could pray for him.

One evening, the young doctor gravely told me things were not going well and that he had done all that he could. At that moment, I felt desperately alone; what could I do except go to God for help? I returned to the room and knelt beside my son’s bed and pleaded with God to let him live.

The next day, George asked, “Are they still praying for me?”

I said, “Oh, yes. We surely are, son.”

Then he asked me if I’d hold his hand. He said, “If you don’t mind holding a scratchy one.” All day I held his hand.

By evening I sensed a calmness come over him. I said, “Doctor, I think he is better!”

The doctor examined him, turned to me and with a look of almost disbelief and surprise said, “I think he is!” The crisis had passed.

The miraculous powers of the body to heal took over. New skin began to grow and the old skin sloughed off. All twenty of his fingernails and toenails came off.

Suddenly we were aware that it was Christmas Eve. Kind nurses and Santa himself came to where a brave young boy with a blotched and burned looking body sat in the bed. By tipping his head back, he saw through slits of eyes a Christmas bouquet and said, “I can see! I can see!”

At that moment I was humbled beyond words.

The young doctor came into the room and said, “George, you have made medical history.” Then he asked if we minded the case being written for the medical journals. I tried to thank our tall young doctor.

He said humbly, “I just stood by.” But I knew he had worked valiantly to save my son.

Our family doctor came into the room and said, “George, you are a walking miracle.”

The nurses, who came to say good-bye to us, said that no one in the hospital expected to see our son go out of the hospital alive.

The eye doctor said, “I feel so humble about this boy. It certainly has made me a believer.”

At this unforgettable Christmas time I realized that, to me, Christmas would forever be a time of rejoicing; rejoicing for the gift of a son.” (Written by Opal H. Clarke, “Don’t Let Him Die”)

George Amos and Linda Clarke: Celebrating Christmas

Truly this was a miracle! Yes, I believe in miracles. This young man grew to adulthood but his body isn’t the same.

His eyes are constantly red because his tear glands were destroyed, so he has to use artificial tears. He coughs frequently and has a raspy sound when he breathes because he has Chronic Bronchitis, which was caused from his illness.

George Amos Clarke, my sweetheart and husband, was grateful for a miracle.

Writing and Arts

Why We Celebrate Christmas

The most beloved of holidays wasn’t always celebrated in America as it is today. There was a time when celebrating Christmas was outlawed. The Puritans and English separatists believed celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ was disgraceful and disrespectful because the people would get drunk, gamble, and be riotous. A 16th-century clergyman, Hugh Latimer, wrote, “Men dishonor Christ more in the twelve days of Christmas than in all the twelve months besides.”

The Puritans had a great deal of influence in America, so celebrating Christmas became a crime and you were fined or arrested if you were found having a Christmas party. It was banned until the 1680s. For many years afterwards, the New England Puritans continued to boycott Christmas.

When Americans were finally free to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, they had a feast with delicious food and dancing. They didn’t have Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and mistletoe in America. Years later the Dutch brought the idea of St. Nick to America and the Germans introduced the Christmas tree to us, but we didn’t incorporate these ideas into our lives until the 1830s and 40s.

It wasn’t until Clement Moore wrote his famous poem that Americans took notice of these traditions. It changed the way Americans thought about Christmas. Twas the Night Before Christmas introduced St. Nicholas, hanging stockings on the chimney, and flying reindeer. These were ideas we hadn’t heard of before. Hanging your stocking on the chimney caught on quickly because of Clement Moore’s poem, which was published in 1837 under the name: A Visit of St. Nicholas.

A Christmas Carol was another book that had an influence on Americans, which was published in 1843. It changed the way we celebrated Christmas. Kissing under the mistletoe was mentioned in his book along with gift giving, and Christmas trees soon became part of our celebrations. Nativities were made and placed in the living room as a reminder why we celebrate Christmas. The reading of the Bible on Christmas Eve became tradition as well. Americans began celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ with new traditions, which brought great joy to the family.

In 1856, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote: “The old Puritan feeling prevents it from being a cheerful, hearty holiday; though every year makes it more so.” After the introduction of these new traditions, every year became more joyful. Families started giving gifts to one another and putting up Christmas trees in their homes. They would decorate it with homemade decorations, by stringing popcorn and cranberries on a string and wrapping it around the tree. Then they attached candles to the branches with melted hot wax. After lighting the candles, they would play games, eat treats, and read from the Bible about the birth of Jesus Christ.

In 1870, President Grant declared Christmas a national holiday. Today lighting a Christmas tree and singing Christmas carols is a big event in most every city. The feeling of joy and good will is in the air. The celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ is a day of rejoicing.

Below is the most touching video I’ve ever watched about the birth of Jesus Christ.