Juneteenth is a time to celebrate. It is a time to cheer. It is a time to rejoice! It all began when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in September of 1862, proclaiming that slavery was to be abolished. It said that all enslaved people “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free” and it went into effect on January 1, 1863.
This proclamation freed all people who were under involuntary servitude in the Confederate States but did not take into account that Texas was not Confederate. Thus, many people who believed in slavery left the Confederate States and moved to Texas with their servants and slaves where they could grow acres of crops and do as they pleased.
After General Robert E. Lee surrendered in Virginia on April 9, 1865, it was found that slavery still remained in Texas. In June of 1865, General Gordon Granger traveled to Galveston, Texas with some federal troops to enforce the law. Calling the people together, he read the “General Orders” to the people. It said: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” At that time, there was believed to be 250,000 enslaved people in Texas.
In December of 1865, the 13th Amendment was added to the United States Constitution, which abolished slavery in the United States. The 13th Amendment read: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
President Abraham Lincoln never got to see the final ratification of the amendment in December because he was assassinated on April 14, 1865.
The following year on June 19th, the citizens of Texas organized the first celebration and called it “Jubilee Day.” Since the federal troops arrived in Texas on June 19 to ensure that all enslaved people were freed, this holiday became popular throughout Texas and was soon called Juneteenth. It did not take long until the tradition spread throughout the United States, representing the abolishment of slavery.
In 1979, Texas made Juneteenth an official holiday. It was a day of celebrations, which included music and church services where they thanked God for the blessing of freedom. In 2021, it became a federal holiday.
As we celebrate Juneteenth, we need to realize that we are all brothers and sisters with the same Father in Heaven… no matter the difference of race, religion, or culture. We are all God’s children and we are equal in His eyes.
As Reverend Brown, a Baptist Minister, looked into President Russell M. Nelson’s eyes, he called him “my brother from another mother.”
“Arm in arm and shoulder to shoulder, may we strive to lift our brothers and sisters everywhere, in every way we can,” Russell M. Nelson, President for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said at the NAACP Convention. “We don’t have to be alike or look alike to have love for each other. We don’t even have to agree with each other to love each other.”
Jesus taught, “This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
Is genealogy only about finding your ancestors? No, there’s much more to it than that. It’s about learning who they were and how they lived. At FamilySearch, they say that your grandparents’ lives are “made up of stories that document the joys and tragedies of life. Preserving our stories can bless future generations.”
This is so true. Write something about your grandparent that is endearing or humorous or just worth remembering. It’s something you can share with others. Below is an example of a humorous story I wrote on my father’s Memories page.
When Marcus was thirteen, one day he closed down the school. It wasn’t on purpose, but his friends thought he was a hero. His father had asked him to bury the skunks that he shot so they wouldn’t get into the chicken coop. It wasn’t any big deal because he had been trapping skunks, weasels, and gofers all summer long. But before he buried these skunks, he went to his bedroom and got his glass jar. All summer he had been collecting their scent in a bottle. Before burying the skunks, he drained their scent glands and then screwed on the lid nice and tight.
The following day, he took the “skunk oil” to school with him to show his classmates. Marcus was so excited as he explained what he had done. His friends were listening and a few girls were peeking over his shoulder to see what he had in the bottle. They had never seen “skunk oil” before. With all the excitement and attention he was receiving, he felt the bottle slip from his hands and land on the floor of the schoolroom.
The bottle broke into a million pieces and skunk oil splattered everywhere. It landed on the pant legs of his friends, the skirts of young girls standing nearby, and on his own shoes. As the oil saturated the wooden floor, the girls screamed and the boys moaned as the room filled with the most putrid, foul, disgusting, detestable odor anyone had ever breathed in. The smell was so nauseating and repulsive that it could not be described in words.
The children instantly held their noses with their fingers and turned and ran out the door, stumbling over one another as they ran. Marcus was close behind. And so was the teacher! She excused school for the rest of the day and Marcus did not get into trouble. He figured the children were so excited to get out of school that no one told on him.
To add a story, go to your grandparent’s Memories page. Click on “Add Memories” and then “Story,” then begin writing. You can add a title to the story and a photo. When you’re done typing, save it. If you want to correct an error in the story later, click the “edit” button. If you would like to copy and paste a story that you have already written, you must enter a space between each paragraph. Otherwise you will have one long paragraph because this program doesn’t recognize “tabs.”
Is that all you can do on Family Search? No, there is more. If you feel writing a story is daunting because you don’t type well or you have arthritis in your hands, I have a fantastic idea. Instead of writing a memory about your father, you can choose to record a memory about him. It is so simple. In his Memories page, click on “Add Memories” and then click “Audio.” Add a title and begin recording by clicking on the red circle with a microphone in the center. When you’re finished, click “Done.” This is a great way of preserving memories of your loved ones.
If your parents are beginning to age and you’re worried about not getting their stories down on paper, just have them sit down and record their own stories on Family Search. Listening to them talk about their experiences can be endearing. Encourage them to get an account and help them get started.
Another way of preserving a long biography that has many pages is by uploading a .pdf document.
What else can you do on Family Search? Adding photos, newspaper articles, documents, and certificates to your grandparent’s page help to tell a story about them. Check with your relatives and find out if they have some old photos and family stories about your grandparents. A distant relative may have something you didn’t know about.
Below is a photo I found of my father sitting on a hay wagon. I love this photo. It tells a story about how they farmed way back in the early 1900s.
It is so simple to add photos and documents to your grandparent’s page. This program supports .jpg, .tif, and png. This can be fun to add memory after memory to your ancestor’s Memories page.
How about the privacy of a living person? If your parents are still alive, only you can see their page in FamilySearch. Once your parents have passed on, any photos, documents, and stories that were attached to their page will be visible to all your relatives. The same goes for you, as well. If you choose to attach a bunch of awesome photos and stories about yourself to your page, they won’t be visible until you pass on. This is for your own privacy.
Is that all you can do on Family Search? No, there is still more. If you have a recording of your relative singing or just talking about a childhood experience, you can upload it to his or her page. Just click on “Add Memories,” “file,” and “Your Device.” At this point, you may add anything that is .mp3, .m4a, and .wav up to 15 MB. I was excited about this feature because I have a CD with me singing at a recording studio. I added each song to my page. But… no one can see my page at this point until I pass on.
If you’re interested in joining Family Search, anyone over 13 years of age can create an account. Here are the steps to follow. It is important to have your mobile phone with you to activate your account.
2. Enter the required information along with a username and password.
3. Click on “text” or “email” for a recovery option in case you forget your username or password. If your country is not in the location list, you must use an email address for recovery.
4. To agree to the terms, check the box andclick “Done.”
5. Look for a message in your email or a text message on your phone to activate your account.
By the way, there is also a Family Search mobile app that you can upload to your phone. Just sign in with your account username and password. Once you sign in, you won’t have to sign in again unless you change your password. Have fun! Enjoy getting to know your ancestors.
Click on the link below and it will take you to FamilySearch.
To learn how to start your family tree, add ancestors, add photos, and add stories about each ancestor, watch this 14-minute video.
Have you ever wondered who your ancestors were? Where did they come from originally? Did they struggle at times and have trials to bear? If so, did it make them stronger? Were they musically inclined and was that handed down to you? How about mannerisms and the way we express ourselves? These are questions that many have about their ancestry. As you discover your ancestors, remember to be proud of your heritage.
I work at a genealogy center called Family Search, a non-profit organization, where I help people find their ancestors. It’s free to the public and their services are absolutely free. People from all different countries, cultures, and religions walk into our Center for help. It is so fun to learn about another person’s heritage as I help them. But you don’t have to go to a Family Search Center to find your ancestors. It’s online, too. Like I said, it’s absolutely free because it’s church-owned.
How old is Family Search? It was created in 1894 called The Genealogical Society of Utah. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints wanted people to understand their heritage so they provided this means to find them. By 1924, they were able to help people in several different languages. By 1938, microfilm was used to find your ancestors. By 1964, family history centers began opening up in city after city.
Finally Family Search created its own website in 1999 and it became the most popular family history website online, receiving 7 million hits per day. Three years later, in 2002, records such as birth, marriage, death, census, and obituaries were uploaded to the site. By 2013, 1 billion records were indexed and uploaded to Family Search. By 2018, they had uploaded 2 billion records.
Since 2020, the Family Search website gets an average of 400,000 visitors per day and is 100 percent digital. If you prefer having someone help you one-on-one, Family Search Centers are in 5,000 cities worldwide. Check your area and see where the closest one is.
Each month millions of new records are added from the early 1500s to the early 1900s. Family Search reported: “FamilySearch expanded its free online archives in February 2023 with over 309 million new-name searchable genealogy records from 56 countries.”
Recently over a million records were just added for Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, the Ivory Coast, and South Africa. On the American continent, newly added records were added for Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, and the United States.
If you’re interested in learning more about your ancestors, anyone over 13 years of age can create an account. How do you create an account? Here are the steps to follow. It is important to have your mobile phone with you to activate your account.
2. Enter the required information along with a username and password.
3. Click on “text” or “email” for a recovery option in case you forget your username or password. If your country is not in the location list, you must use an email address for recovery.
4. To agree to the terms, check the box andclick “Done.”
5. Look for a message in your email or a text message on your phone to activate your account.
By the way, there is also a Family Search mobile app that you can upload to your phone. Just sign in with your account username and password. Once you sign in, you won’t have to sign in again unless you change your password.
To help you learn how to start your family tree on FamilySearch, add ancestors, add sources such as birth and marriage certificates, add photos, and add stories about each ancestor, watch this 14-minute video. Have fun! Enjoy getting to know your ancestors.
Click on the link below and it will take you to FamilySearch.
May is a time when we celebrate and rejoice for several reasons. It’s a month when our children graduate from school. Many countries have festivals at this time. It’s also a time to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, a festive time of year. Every year on the 5th of May my husband makes salsa and takes it to work. But that’s not all that we celebrate. It’s a time to remember our loved ones who have passed on and lay flowers on their graves. When was the first Memorial Day and how did it come about?
On April 9, 1865, the Civil War ended when Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox Court House in Virginia. After hearing that the war had ended, a group of 1,000 formerly enslaved men and women and the regiments from the U.S. Colored Troops all gathered together in Charleston, South Carolina. They had heard that thousands of Union Soldiers had been held prisoner at the racetrack where the Confederate camp was located. More than 260 had died from exposure and were hastily buried in a mass grave behind the grandstands.
Everyone gathered at the camp to give the Union Soldiers a proper burial. After exhuming the bodies, they reinterred them in a new cemetery. Then they placed a whitewashed fence around the cemetery and wrote the words on a plaque: Martyrs of the Race Course.
On May 1, 1865, a month after the war had ended, a crowd of 10,000 people, consisting of recently freed slaves, members of the Black Union regiments including the famous 54th Massachusetts Regiment,and a few white missionaries paraded around the cemetery. It was recorded in The Charleston Courier that “Black schoolchildren carried bouquets of flowers” and placed them on the graves, ministers spoke, everyone sang hymns, and they placed flowers around the graves, honoring those who had fought for their freedom.
Sadly the Civil War claimed the lives of over 620,000 soldiers. It was a time of mourning for loved ones, and it was a time of rejoicing that the war was ended. The following year on May 5, 1866 in Waterloo, New York, the community got together and decorated the soldiers’ graves with flowers. Businesses closed down and everyone took the day off to remember their loved ones. This celebration happened in several different states.
After hearing about those who gave honor to the Union Soldiers, General John A. Logan, who was a leader of the Northern Civil War Veterans Organization, made an announcement. On May 5 1868, he said, “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.”
He called it Decoration Day and it was to be a day of remembrance for those who had given their lives in the name of freedom. Why did he choose May 30th? Some historians think it may have something to do with the time of year when flowers are in bloom. After his announcement the following year, 5,000 people decorated the graves of 20,000 Civil War soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
Originally Decoration Day honored those soldiers who lost their lives during the Civil War. After World War I, the holiday included all veterans who were involved in any war. Memorial Day as it is known today now honors those serving in the Military during World War I and II, Vietnam War, Korean War, Afghanistan War, etc.
On Memorial Day, it was tradition to place flowers on the graves of those who lost their lives during the war, especially a red poppy. Poppies were also worn to represent support for the Military. But where did this tradition come from? Who had inspired this idea of a red poppy?
John McCrae, a poet, was a Brigade Surgeon during World War I and was impressed with the pretty red poppies that were growing in a nearby battlefield. As he gazed at the field, he felt inspired to write a poem called “In Flanders Fields.” The poem touched many hearts and the red poppy soon became a tradition as a remembrance of their loved ones.
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly… Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die, We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.
~Written by John McCrae
In 1971, Memorial Day became an official federal holiday and they changed the date to the last Monday of May. The change was done to make the holiday a three-day weekend. But many felt that wasn’t a good idea because most people went on vacation during that weekend and would forget the real reason for Memorial Day. It was supposed to be a day of remembrance, to honor our loved ones who have passed on.
Most believed it was a man’s world when it came to journalism but there were several women who were so impressive with their writing skills that the publisher took a chance on hiring a female journalist. In doing so, it actually helped the sales of their papers. In France, Anne-Marguerite Petit du Noyer (1663-1719) was a famous female journalist. In fact, her articles were read all over Europe. She wrote about the negotiations that led up to a series of peace treaties and she also reported on scandal and gossip.
A notable writer in American history was Emily Edson Briggs, born in 1830 in Ohio. In 1861, Emily wrote a letter to the Washington Chronicle in order to defend women’s rights in government. The publisher was impressed with her and asked her to write a daily column for the Chronicle and the Philadelphia Press. Emily accepted his offer and used the pseudonym of “Olivia.”
When Abraham Lincoln was president, Emily was the first woman to visit the White House. She was impressed with their hospitality and kindness as she walked the halls of Congress and described the events taking place. She was also among the first journalists who were admitted to the Press Gallery. For over twenty years, she wrote articles for the paper and her columns became well known all over America.
In 1885, when the Pittsburgh Dispatch printed an article titled “What Girls Are Good For,” Elizabeth Cochrane wrote an indignant letter to the publisher. He was so impressed with her writing skills that he offered her a job.She accepted and used thepseudonym “Nellie Bly.”
Elizabethwrote about women’s prisons, abandoned children, and much more. In 1887, Elizabethasked if she could investigate a women’s insane Asylum at Blackwell’s Island to see how they were treated. Pretending to be insane, she had herself committed as a patient. The terrible and unkind conditions were reported in her article. It opened the eyes of everyone and the institution had to make a change.
Winifred Sweet Bonfils Black was an excellent journalist and used the pseudonym of “Annie Laurie.” She enjoyed doing undercover work. Some called her a “stunt girl” because of the incredible ways she gathered her stories. In 1892, when she was denied an interview with President Benjamin Harrison, Winifred hid under his railroad car and waited until he sat down to eat. Then she snuck into his dining car and sat down beside him for an interview.
While on another assignment, she dawned some shabby clothes. Collapsing in front of a truck in San Francisco, she pretended to faint. When the men couldn’t revive her, they quickly took her to the hospital. That was exactly what she wanted. Pretending she was poor and without means, Winifred took notes on how she was treated by the staff. After her release, she wrote an article about the way she had been mistreated simply because she had no money. After reading her article, it was reported that some of the staff in her report were fired.
Many times she disguised herself as a boy and was able to expose the terrible conditions in factories and juvenile courts. Her articles made a difference because it created better conditions. She also reported what the city lacked during a natural disaster when people needed help. Realizing their mistakes, the city officials improved on disaster relief. Winifred became one of the most respected journalists because she made a difference.
Eva McDonald Valesh used the pseudonym“Eva Gay.” As a stunt girl reporter, Eva helped many people by improving conditions for factory and service workers. Posing as a worker at a garment factory, she found out what conditions the women were expected to work under. In her article, she wrote about the long hours, terrible wages, and unhealthy conditions. Her article actually inspired a strike, asking for higher wages and better working conditions.
It was unusual for a woman to be a journalist during the 1700s and 1800s. Female columnists have intrigued me a great deal. So I decided to write about an independent young lady who writes her mind. Nothing can stop her from writing the truth and defending the less fortunate. In The Highwayman of Cordovia, the female heroine fights for justice in her small country and her articles inspire patriotism.
In this historical romance, a group of powerful men plan to take over the small country of Cordovia and replace the leader with a king. With the help of a bold highwayman and a patriotic young woman, they work to save their country from being taken over by a power-hungry leader. As they strive to stop the Kingmen and thwart their plans, Christine finds herself falling in love with Austin Knight. The only problem with their relationship is that she thinks he is her knight in shining armor instead of a highwayman. If she finds out his trade, what will her reaction be?
The second book I wrote with a female journalist was A Pleasant Rivalry. In this historical romance,Angelica Davis is surprised when she finds out that an old school chum has returned to Willow Valley to take over his grandfather’s business. Since she writes articles for the Chronicle and Simon Morgan owns the Willow Valley News, they just happen to be rivals. The competition is on. Who will be the first to discover the identity of the jewel thief or the arsonist? Will it be Angelica or Simon? Gradually the feelings she once had for him return as they both search for the same stories. To her surprise, Angelica realizes she is losing her heart to her rival.
You can buy these family friendly books from Amazon as a paperback, eBook, and Audible audiobooks.
It is interesting to learn what our grandparents and great grandparents did when they were sick or just had a bug bite. The remedies were quite ingenious… ideas I never thought about doing when I felt miserable. Today we just grab a bottle of aspirin for pain, fever, or muscle aches. Although, if you take too much aspirin, it’s hard on your stomach and can cause ulcers. So what did our ancestors use instead of aspirin?
If they had a fever or a terrible migraine headache, Feverfew was recommended. It is commonly known as Cornflower. This lacy daisy-like flower could be seen in anyone’s yard. Many refer to it as “Bachelor’s Buttons.” Why was it given this nickname? Young men would tuck this dainty flower in the buttonhole of their jacket as a symbol that he was single and available to the young ladies.
If your child came home crying because he had an insect bite, there was a remedy. Just smear honey onto the wound every hour to help bring down the swelling and ease the pain. It’s sort of a sticky way of relieving pain but it’s oh-so sweet!
Those who had trouble sleeping would take Chamomile Tea before going to bed. It helps with anxiety and to fall asleep easier. It also reduces inflammation related to arthritis or menstrual cramping. I’ve tried it for arthritis and it works. I’m quite impressed. Just recently they found that it prevents osteoporosis.
How about colds and a sore throat? If someone had a sore throat, a salt-water gargle was recommended. My favorite, though, is what my mother always did. She would put a tablespoon of honey and a tablespoon of vinegar in a glass of warm water for me to sip slowly. It did the job and relieved my sore throat.
If a person was congested, it was common to place a Castor Oil compress on the person’s chest to help them breathe easier. If a child had a hard time breathing or was struggling for breath, they used Ipecac to clear the airways of phlegm.
Indigestion or a sour stomach was easy to cure. They didn’t use Tums. My mother would give me a glass of milk to drink. It worked every time. Another cure is a teaspoon of baking soda in water.
If the patient had an ailment the doctor couldn’t figure out or didn’t have an answer, he would say: “A hot bath always works wonders. I would recommend soaking for a half hour every day until you feel better.”
Deep wounds are something to be worried about because infection can set in so easily. That can be very dangerous for the patient. My great grandmother was quite knowledgeable when it came to herbs and “doctoring” her own children. Once a neighbor begged her to help her husband because a bull had gored him in the abdomen. She instantly went to his aid. After cleaning the wound, she made a liniment of arnica burrs steeped in alcohol. Then she saturated a cloth with the ointment and applied it to the wound. For the next few weeks, she rewrapped his wound with fresh ointment until he was healed. It worked and he never got infection.
After learning about all these wonderful medicines of the past, I wanted to create a historical romance with the main character as a doctor and use all these remedies. In my research, I found that the Kentucky’s Medical Department of Transylvania University was a popular school to attend for an education in medicine. It was perfect because my story was to take place in southern Illinois, not far from Kentucky.
In Angel’s Serenade, Emmeline Scott is raising her sister’s two children and is surprised when she finds out the new doctor in town is helping her nephew adapt to his surroundings. It is not easy to be uprooted and have to start a new life. Each day when Emmeline practices the piano, she doesn’t know the doctor secretly sits on his porch to listen to her music. As Emmeline gets to know the charming doctor, Lucas Golden, they become intrigued by her neighbor’s mysterious behavior. Will they discover his secret? And who is the leader of the River Pirates, who is causing so much havoc?
Watch a sweet romance blossom before your eyes in Angel’s Serenade.
This book is available on Amazon and Audible Audiobooks.
Music has been part of life for centuries and has a therapeutic effect on people. In the Bible, David played the harp to soothe King Saul when he was upset or depressed. Singing and dancing were also ways to praise God. In Psalm 149 verse 3, it says: “Let them praise his name in dance: let them sing praises unto him.”
As early as the 15th century, folk music became popular in the European countries. The lively Country Dance of the Scottish and English became part of their culture. When the Irish converted to Christianity, it was reported that dancing became more popular among the people. Celtic dancing was soon born and it was a way of entertaining and celebrating. This sort of dancing set them apart from other cultures.
Music and dancing brings great joy to many. We have the Polka, the Virginia Reel, the Foxtrot, the Tango, the Samba, the Charleston, the Swing, and the Waltz. But none were as badly received as the Waltz was. It had a rocky beginning and wasn’t accepted as readily as other dances. In fact, it was severely criticized. It was considered a German folk dance and was created in the 18th century.
Most dances were rigid, had strict rules to follow, and everyone danced at arms-length. But the Waltz was completely opposite from other dances. It was “free form” dancing where you held your partner in a closed position. With the man’s arm wrapped around the lady’s waist and pulling her close, they danced almost cheek to cheek. It was quite popular among the peasants but high society denounced it when they heard of embracing one’s partner. The upper classes claimed that it was immoral behavior.
The Oxford English Dictionary called the Waltz “riotous and indecent.” In a 1771 German novel, an aristocrat was upset about the “newly-introduced waltz.” The guest said: “When he put his arm around her, pressed her to his breast, cavorted with her in the shameless, indecent whirling-dance of the Germans and engaged in a familiarity that broke all the bounds of good breeding—then my silent misery turned into burning rage.”
The Waltz was popular in Germany, Austria, and Vienna but its popularity spread to other countries with the introduction of the Strauss waltzes at social gatherings. Soon the Waltz got the attention of bored noblemen and they would sneak out and join the country-dances. Even though they enjoyed it, they didn’t want to overstep the bounds of propriety so they kept it a secret.
In The Times of London, 16 July 1816, it said: “We remarked with pain that the indecent foreign dance called the Waltz was introduced (we believe for the first time) at the English court on Friday last … to see that it is indeed far removed from the modest reserve which has hitherto been considered distinctive of English females… We feel it a duty to warn every parent against exposing his daughter to so fatal a contagion.”
When it was finally introduced in the United States, their reaction wasn’t any different than England. After years of dancing at arm’s length, it was not readily accepted and received much criticism. In 1834, Lorenzo Papatino introduced a new waltz to the Americans. It was called the Boston Waltz. It was much slower than the German waltzes and not as boisterous. The youth absolutely loved it.
When my daughter was going through some old newspaper clippings that her grandmother had saved through the years, she found an article about such dancing. There was no date or name of the newspaper, but this is what the clipping said:
The Reverend G. W. Simpson has uttered a strong denunciation of dancing in a letter to his parishioners. “Many think that there is very little harm in dancing, and I entirely agree. If only we had the right style of dancing; but, unfortunately, a style of dancing has been introduced into this country during comparatively recent times—I refer to the Waltz and kindred dances—which in many cases cannot but excite the animal passions, and affords abundant opportunities for undue familiarity.”
It took many years before the new dance was accepted into society. Inspired by a tender dream I once had, I decided to create my new historical romance called: One Last Dance.Felicity Brooks is a talented artist but her career is cut short when her father passes away. Realizing the importance of family, she travels home to care for her mother. When Felicity meets their new neighbor, a fine-looking bachelor, she soon discovers that he is hiding his true identity. Nicholas Adams is on a quest. But that is not all. When she finds out that someone is after a valuable heirloom…a precious treasure that her father had discovered in his attic, her life takes a new turn. After realizing how much she misses her father, will one last dance heal her broken heart?
Watch a sweet romance blossom before your eyes in One Last Dance.
This book is available on Amazon and Audible Audiobooks.
Easter is a time when we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is the foundation upon which all Christian religions are built. Jesus taught his followers to love one another, forgive one another, and help those in need. Jesus Christ taught us a higher law… to turn the other cheek and to be kind to others. He knew we would make mistakes and was willing to suffer for our sins so we could be forgiven.
In the Gospel of John, it says: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) The scriptures give us a wonderful insight to repentance and forgiveness. Isaiah wrote: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” (Isaiah 1:18) I am in awe when I think about this scripture. Can this really be true? Can I start again with a clean slate?
Mark E. Peterson said, “He died on the Cross to atone for the sins of all who will obey Him, and He broke the bands of death to provide a resurrection for us all. His atonement was the most important event that ever happened.”
Easter is a celebration of life. It reminds us that Jesus paid the price for our mistakes and was resurrected for all mankind. John wrote: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Jesus wants us to love one another, no matter our culture, race, or religion. He doesn’t want us to criticize one another’s opinions or religious beliefs. He wants us to respect each other and be kind. We are all God’s children and we are all equal in his eyes.
One of the most touching videos about the life of Jesus Christ comes from the Apostle John’s own account of the last events of Jesus Christ’ life. I know this video will touch your heart as it has touched mine. Have a wonderful Easter!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 admits that she didn’t much care for her future husband at first. 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.