Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thoughtful About . . . 2011 in Review

Last year when reviewing 2010, I mentioned that I prayed for a word for the year--a word to live up to, or that represented a promise from the Lord. He gave me the word shine. As I went through the past twelve months, I often reminded myself that my purpose was to shine for Him, to be the mirror to His light, even when I didn't feel like it.



Did I succeed? Well, much of that is something I can't know. But I know the effect it had on me. And I know that I saw Him shining in my life in 2011--a lot.

At the start of 2011, I was launching Jewel of Persia. It was a slow launch, but it's been such a blessing to watch how it's grown and multiplied, until finally it hit the Amazon Kindle bestseller list in its category. Its ranking changes hour to hour, but it's there. That's so stinkin' exciting!



I spent the first month and a half of the year writing Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland. I wrote it with absolutely no idea if it would be good enough, if Summerside would like it, if it was my ticket to a big publisher or if--as I'd truly begun to think--the Lord wanted me to stay with our small press. Every single day, I woke up and gave that book to Him, saying more than once that it had to be His, because I just couldn't write it otherwise. Unlike Jewel of Persia, it wasn't a story I wrote from a fire within me, feverishly and without the desire to pause. I agonized through every chapter of Annapolis, uncertain the whole way.

I turned it in on my son's birthday, 11 February 2011. For the next month, I couldn't tell you how many times I prayed, "Make me okay, Lord. No matter what happens with it, make me okay." Because I knew that one way or another, I'd have an answer soon, and that this was my only shot with this story.

On March 15, I got the call from my agent. Summerside was buying Annapolis, and it would release 1 December 2011. Nine short months away!


But in this business, you have to always be looking ahead. Publishing lines are scheduled so far in advance, that if I wanted another book out around a year after this one, I had to get cracking now. So throughout the spring and summer, I decided on my next project, found an editor interested in it, and wrote it. I signed with a new agent, the fantabulous Karen Ball. I turned in this project to the editor super-excited about it. Got an offer for another from another. Was offered a three book deal on the one I'd just finished.

A banner year--a shocking, wow-look-how-it-all-clicked banner year. I went from having one solid lead for a contract but absolutely no certainty that I could pull it off, to having five contracted books in the works. I got to watch my biblicals, the stories of my heart, find their foothold. I got to work with some fabulous authors with WhiteFire, contracting and editing three amazing works of historical fiction.


In my personal life, I got to watch my daughter grow by leaps and bounds in her schoolwork, and my son develop a single-minded pursuit of all things with wheels. My hubby and I celebrated our 10th anniversary with an amazing weekend in Niagara Falls, and we topped the year off with a gift of kittens for our kiddos--hands-down the best gift they've ever gotten, they say. =)

Misty morning view of the American falls
My parents looking on while Rowyn jumps on the couch, totally startled, and Xoe squeals in delight.


So here we all are, another new year on the horizon. I'm praying for another word from the Lord to represent 2012, and praising Him for my year of Shining, for all that He did and helped me do in 2011. I'm praising Him for the friends I made, the friends I grew closer to, giving to him my grief over the friend I lost.

My friend Mary, who succumbed to cancer this summer but lives on in the legacy of faith she left in many lives.


Thank you, Lord, for a year of reaping after so many of sowing. Thank you, Lord, for the promise of all that's to come. Thank you, Lord, for planting the garden of my life with so many amazing friendships that have bloomed and made my world beautiful.

Thank you, Lord, for carrying me through every shadow, every valley, so that I can again glimpse and cling to Your shining light.

How was your 2011? And what are you hoping for in 2012?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thoughtful About . . . A Merry Christmas!


This is the last post I'll have up before Christmas . . . and probably the last before I do a look-back-over-the-year on next Thursday. So first and foremost, I hope each and every one of you has a fantastic Christmas and that 2011 wraps up well for you!

Excitement is building around here! What presents have arrived are all wrapped--but I'm still waiting for the elves--i.e. the mail lady and UPS guy--to deliver a few. Yikes! Cookies enough have been baked to keep us, though we'll probably make some more over the next week. Our homeschool week is all but done, and we've squeezed a full week's worth of stuff into it. All that's left is some reading-to-her and two math lessons. Woot! We're going to celebrate its completion by watching the Christmas Carol movie that came out two years ago, the one with Jim Carrie and computer animation. I hear it's great. =)

A few highlights for me thus far came from my publishers. The one I still can't talk about yet sent out gifts to all their authors, and it was just so awesome to get that and realize I'm one of their authors! =) And then I got an email from my editor at Summerside that included the information that the cover model for Annapolis isn't a stock photo or hired model as I had assumed, but the friend of someone at Summerside--so cool! And better still, that the model has read and loved Annapolis, and her kids are now calling her "Lark." =) This greatly pleased the folks whose friend she is, and they too are reading and loving the book and referred to me as Summerside's own Jane Austen. Talk about making my day!

Well, my plans for the day involve getting the house ready to receive guests--and kitties--squeezing in some writing, and tying up any other loose ends so we can enjoy the Christmas break. Over which I'll hopefully get lots of writing-work done, LOL.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Remember When . . . Christmas Was in the Books?

I've never written a novel set solely around Christmas. But as I'm contemplating fun holiday stuff I could write about here, I realize that both of my last two books have Christmas on the page. Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland does in fact take place from the end of November through the end of January, so it's full of Christmasy goodness and many traditions from the day.

If you missed it last year, I blogged about many of these traditions in a post called Remember When . . . Christmas Was Banned? which also (obviously) touches on how Christmas was not an observed holiday in New England.

In Annapolis, Christmas was far from banned. Being Anglican--the only church in the city was what came to be renamed the Episcopal church when it became unpopular to name them "church of England"--the city celebrated in the style of Merry Ol' England. I had a lot of fun writing that chapter too, with mention of wassailing, of the hanging greens, and of the simple gifts they gave each other. (They certainly didn't have to check five different online stores for that remote control car their sons really, really wanted and then bite their nails when they saw it wasn't due to arrive until December 23rd . . .).

When I started writing another Colonial and did all my research, I realized this next one, too, would have to include the Christmas season--though it goes from November to October so certainly doesn't focus on it. Still, Christmas Day gets a chapter.

When I first realized that both my hero and heroine had been either living in or raised in the parts of New England that would not have observed Christmas, I had a moment of panic. Oh no! They wouldn't view Christmas like I do!!! How in the world do I capture their thoughts??

As it turns out, their views of the day came naturally to their characters and in fact really helped me form those characters. See, Winter (my heroine) grew up in a Congregationalist home on Long Island that could trace its roots back to the Puritans. In her home, Christmas was a day of quiet reflection. No gifts, no music, no parties.

Now all of a sudden she's in a home that celebrates--loudly and boisterously. Winter isn't wowed by it--she's saddened and disgusted by it, and feels far, far from home. All she wants on this holy day is to close herself into her room, read her Bible, and spend some time in quiet contemplation and prayer, thinking about what it truly means that Jesus came down as a babe.

Instead, she's forced into an elaborate gown, paraded through a drawing room full of mercenary, shallow socialites concerned only with who got the more expensive gift, and forced to listen to the drunken jolly-making of New York's elite.

Merry she isn't. Because she longs for the quiet of communion with the Lord. Much like she does through the rest of the book.

Though I've always celebrated and loved Christmas, writing that chapter really helped me understand how a different approach could be precious and beloved. 

This year, no matter what your traditions are, I pray that you observe them with joy, share them with your loved ones, and come away with that unmistakable Christmas feeling--the one that says, "God has blessed them, one and all."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Story Time - A NECESSARY DECEPTION by Laurie Alice Eakes

It is 1812, and England is awash with enemies. The French that they've been fighting for years . . . the renewed conflict in America . . . and now there are even uprisings in the north over the mills. Young widow Lady Lydia Gale knows this, knows that England's true enemies may be hidden under a fair facade--but still she must do what she can to help those who need it, those to whom her late, unloving husband took the liberty of pledging her support.

And so she ventures to that dark prison in Dartmoor. So she meets with the strangely compelling Frenchman, Christien de Meuse, and obtains his freedom. So she entrusts him with her last belonging of any worth, the last gift her husband sent her.

So the adventure begins.

Lydia never dreamed that a month later, Christien would arrive in her drawing room in London, directly on the heels of a few other questionable personages. Then again, she also never dreamed she would have been approached by someone claiming to be from the Home Office, who would blackmail her into introducing these unsavory gentlemen into London society. For the sake of her family, she must comply. But at what risk to her country--and to her heart?

Laurie Alice Eakes has done it again. With A Necessary Deception she has penned a novel that combines heart-stopping romance with heart-pounding suspense, crafting characters at once strong but consistent with their times, blind in some ways and brilliant in others. These true-to-life characters of Lydia and Christien--not to mention the wonderfully made secondary characters, especially Lydia's younger sisters--will pull you in from the start and keep you flipping the pages as surely as the espionage and intrigue.

Needless to say, I love this book. I love the cover, so very Regency and elegant. I love the characters, so very real and true. I love the plot, with its questions of who you can trust, whether a man's place of birth determines his loyalties. And I love the romance, its depth and charm, its scope and breadth. As we watch Christien and Lydia dare to open their hearts, it makes us ask ourselves what we would do if drawn to a man who may just be our nation's enemy . . . what we would do if we fell for someone whose life may be endangered by our attention. How far we would go to protect our families.

Beautifully written, masterfully crafted, A Necessary Deception is a book for any lover of historical novels, especially those that combine suspense with romance. This is one you don't want to miss!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Word of the Week - Yule

In Old English, Christmas day was called geol (not to be confused with gaol, which is jail--ha ha ha), taken from Old Norse jol. Jol was a heathen feast day, taken over by English so long ago that no one's sure exactly when it happened. Though we do know that "jolly" comes from jol. ;-)

Origianlly, geol, or yule, meant solely Christmas Day. It also happens that there was a cognate, giuli, that was the Anglo-Saxon name for a two-month midwinter season of feasting, so the two got mixed together. When English first borrowed the word, it meant the 12 Day Feast of Christmas--December 25 through January 6, the Epiphany. It was largely replaced by the word Christmas by the eleventh century, except for in Danish-settled parts of England.

Writers, however, revived the word in the 19th century to capture the particular charm of Christmas in Merry Ol' England. Oh yes, it's always the writers, LOL.

Yultide (literally yule time or Christmastime) was recorded in the 15th century, and the first written mention of the yule log is from the 17th century and was a ceremonially chosen log (sometimes and entire tree)  picked to have an enduring burn for Christmas.

Can you believe there's less than a week until Christmas?? I hope everyone is enjoying this yuletide season!

~*~

And today I'm on Go Teen Writers! It was a fun interview, so be sure to check it out to learn what I would do if captured by kidnappers. ;-)

Friday, December 16, 2011

First Great ANNAPOLIS Giveaway Winner!

And the first (of two) winners for the Great ANNAPOLIS Giveaway is . . .



Elaine Marie Cooper!

Congrats, Elaine!!

For those of you who didn't win this round (and there are a lot of you--we logged around 330 entries into this baby!), keep on entering, because the second drawing will be on February 15, 2012.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thoughtful About . . . Shopping

I'll just come out and admit it--I like getting presents. I do. That surprise of ripping open the paper and finding something underneath that you didn't choose for yourself. That feeling of appreciation that comes from knowing someone took the time to select something for you. And, well, just getting new things. ;-)

I like giving presents. I like putting thought and care into what each person in my life wants and needs. I love finding those gems--like the year we gave my mother-in-law the leg lamp from her all-time favorite move, A Christmas Story. (Or as she calls it, Shoot Your Eye Out, LOL.) I love picking things that I know will make my kids squeal with delight.

But this year . . . I don't know. We're trying to clear some accumulated junk from our house, so I'm rather loath to bring in new junk. You know? In years past when buying for my kids, I would often just grab things to fill out the allotted funds from, say, my grandmother. To fill up the stocking.

After throwing out all the cheap toys that had broken and giving away many of the ones they just don't play with, I'm not doing that this year. This year, my thought is, "I'm not spending the money unless I know they'll love it."

I think it's a good philosophy--accept that it means I'm still not done shopping, and there are only ten days until Christmas. Aaaaggghhhh!

For someone who grew up in a family that celebrated Christmas with joy and generosity (even those lean years, my Mom managed to stretch each dollar so the under-the-tree looked bursting!), I feel downright guilty sometimes for choosing an approach that doesn't result in such bulk. I'm afraid my kids will be disappointed--though we've never bought them a whole lot for Christmas, given how much they get everywhere else.

They never are--my kids don't expect a gazillion gifts from us, and we try really hard to keep their focus on the giving, the giving in honor of Christ.

Still, this year . . . my daughter's dresser is literally bursting with clothes. Literally. I cleaned out probably half their toys, and there are still so many . . . And the rest of my family?? What do they really want, really need?

Well, we solved the dilemma for the kids with these little bundles of joy. The two grays will be ours. =)

I was still stressing about some of the other members of our family, but last night my hubby and I went out on our annual Christmas Shopping Date, and we came up with good things for all, I think. Things that aren't just going to clutter, but are rather going to add meaning.

See, shopping with my husband keeps me in that mindset. He's from a family that gives only what, and when, they think will be special. I don't always like this approach, but shopping with him keeps me from buying junk. It makes me think about how I'm spending each dollar. I needed that--that shift in focus. Our shopping date is in its third year now, and it's a tradition I'm going to cling to just to keep myself in line. ;-)

What are your shopping traditions for this often-hectic time of year?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Remember When . . . We Hung the Greens?

Christmas is upon us. And as you can tell by looking around at either my blog or my house, it's time to decorate. A Christmas tree, complete with a rainbow of ornaments, most antique. Garland on my shelves. Everywhere is red, green, and white (with a few other colors thrown in here and there).

Me being me, naturally I've been wondering about those colors. ;-) Would my Colonial characters have decorated at all like I do? I know the Christmas tree tradition hadn't made it to unerring popularity over here yet, but the garland? The red accents? Were the Christmas colors the Christmas colors yet?

It only took a quick search to find my answer--a resounding YES! And since I found it interesting, I'll share it with you. =)

The green part of "red and green" I pretty much knew. Since evergreens are the only thing growing in the Western hemisphere this time of year, it was chosen as a decoration--one we could find much significance in, as it's a symbol of eternal life and/or rebirth. There were, of course, traditions surrounding this before Christianity took root--traditions that were easily integrated into the new faith because of how well they represented our ideals.

But red--that's the one I wasn't sure about. And it's been around long enough that historians aren't entirely sure about it. But this is their best guess:

Traditionally, the feast day of Adam and Eve is on Christmas Day. As part of the celebration in the Middle Ages, they would put on a play to educate the illiterate masses about Adam and Eve's story. When they got to the part about the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil their options were limited--the only tree still green was the pine. And the only fruit they had stores was the apple. So they'd tie an apple onto a pine bough, and that would represent their Tree.

Over the years, the red apple snuck into Christmas traditions too, appearing on wreaths and garlands. Red and green soon took hold in its own right. Holly became a popular plant to decorate with solely because it combines those two colors (and is an evergreen so, you know, around in December).

And there we have it! A tradition that has been around for somewhere between 500 and 1000 years, and shows no signs of stopping. =)

As a reminder, you only have until TOMORROW, 15 December, to enter the first round of the Great ANNAPOLIS Giveaway (though entries from after that will go into my second round automatically). Check out the tab at the top to see what all you could win and how to win it!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Word of the Week - Get Back

I was browsing through the entries for "get" over at www.etymonline.com, trying to discover when "get-go" came into being. Well, I didn't find that (maybe it's been around from the get-go. Ha . . . ha . . . ha . . .), but I did find some interesting info on "get back."

Get back has been used since the 1600s in the sense of "return"--as in, "let's get back to town." That's no big surprise, right? What surprised me was that the transitive sense of "recover"--as in, "Can you get back the money you lost?"--didn't come about until 1808. Rather late for something so literal, in my opinion! And the meaning of "retaliate" didn't enter English until 1888. Very late.

Pretty cool, huh? (Go ahead and say it--I'm a Word Nerd, LOL.)



Oh, and check out my post on RomCon Inc's historical blog today!

And now, consider yourselves cordially invited to an online Colonial Christmas party! The Quillers over at Colonial Quill will all be there chatting, and I hope you can join us!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thoughtful About . . . The Basics

We have two cars. The one my hubby was given when he was learning to drive--a '95 Jeep Cherokee--and our Lincoln LS. (These aren't actual pictures of our cars, just online images of the same models--approximately, LOL.)

Xander, the Lincoln, is ten years old but still blinged out for a car of that age. Heated seats. Rain-sensitive windshield wipers whose speed adjusts automatically depending on the rate of rain. Automatic headlights. Climate control. It's a sweet car, and it still looks lean and mean driving around with the newer cars. ;-)
Last night, in the pouring rain, I ended up driving Bartok the Jeep. (Yes, I name my cars, LOL.) Bartok was getting new tires in case we got the predicted snow last night, and I drove him home.

It was pretty funny. I got in and went, "Oh, the seat's all wrong." And I had to move it manually. No pushing of my pre-set button. Then--gasp--the steering wheel was all the way up! I really don't know that I've ever had to move the steering wheel in the Jeep, but miraculously, my hand found that level on its first reach. (Go ahead and laugh at me. I deserve it.) 

Positioning correct, I then had a new pause. It was raining, and my wipers weren't just wiping it away. Oh, right--I have to tell them to do that. I flip them on, then realize that the world around me is dark. Headlights. Check. I pull that knob out and feel relatively set to get going.

The steering is different. The brake pedal is softer. And it takes me a good two minutes to realize I need to flip the heat on myself--which I only realize because the windows are fogging up. I've been known to go an entire trip without turning the heat on in the Jeep, LOL.

This always amuses me because, let's face it, it's basic stuff. Stuff I shouldn't have to put so much thought into--but I've been spoiled by Xander. Still, we keep Bartok around. Why? Well, because nothing's like a Jeep. It can go in the snow, it can go in the mud, it can go off road and on road and across road and do it all with cheerful gumption and enough squeaks and jingles and rattles to let you know it's working hard. ;-) 

I love Bartok. I love the blingier Xander too, but driving around in the Jeep last night, it really got me thinking.

Is there a better when it comes to this sort of thing?

It all comes down to purpose. Do I drive Bartok every day? No, because it's a two-door and hard for me to get the kids in and out of. But when the first flakes of snow start coming down, you can bet I give Xander a nice pat and say, "Take a break, buddy. Have a snow day. It's your brother's turn." Same goes if we have to haul anything bigger than a paper box. And need I even say that the kids think riding in it is the most fun in the world, because it doesn't happen often?

I think sometimes life, and those of us blundering through it, is the same way. Some of us are a little rough around the edges. Some of us hold up well against the blinged-out world, but are, in truth, pretty modest in comparison. And sometimes it's hard to shift from one path to another, from one calling to another, from one situation to another.

Sometimes we get thrown by having to take care of things we're not used to taking care of. On the other hand, it can be a real treat to reach for that task and see it's already taken care of--that those headlights have already flicked on without any input from you.

But just like with my oh-so-different car-family, it's about the particulars, the circumstances. Sometimes we need to be spoiled.

And sometimes we need to get back to the basics.

In this season of hustle and bustle, of rushing and spending, take some time out for the Bartok situations in your life. Let the bling rest. Let the polish fade. And just enjoy the simple, and all it can do for you that the complex never could.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Remember When . . . The Party Was Colonial?

Next week I'll be having my first real-life (as opposed to online) book event for Annapolis, at my local library. It's advertised as a Colonial Christmas party, and I'm having fun putting together all the Colonial aspects. I'll be displaying my Great ANNAPOLIS Giveaway items, I think I'll be setting up the little plastic Patriot V. Tory soldiers I have in a mock battle, decorating with greenery . . . and of course, planning a colonial menu. =)

I thought today it would be fun to share with you online folks what my in-person folks will be treated to next week, and the fun recipes I've found for colonial dishes. =)

Before I dive into the goodies, though, don't forget to comment on the THREE interviews I have up right now for chances to win copies of Annapolis AND for entries into the Great ANNAPOLIS Giveaway! They are:

The Love Finds You Blog Party at Seasons of Humility: http://seasonsofhumility.blogspot.com/2011/12/love-finds-you-with-spark-of.html



Now for the goodies!

First, my menu will feature two savory items--ham, which was  a staple of life and parties back in the day, since it could be so easily preserved by smoking and salting. And also popcorn, which hadn't yet reached the widespread popularity of the 1800s, but was certainly around.

Now for the sweets!

Gingerbread

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup hot water
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9 inch square pan.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the egg, and mix in the molasses.
  3. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Blend into the creamed mixture. Stir in the hot water. Pour into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan before serving. 

Pear Muffins

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup ripe pears, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
rind of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 375. Grease muffin tins. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk and vanilla, mixing just until blended. Do not overmix. In a bowl combine the pears with the walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon rind. Gently fold into the batter. Spoon into the muffin tins, filling each tin 3/4 full. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until nicely browned. Serve warm with apple butter. 

(Thanks to Susan Craft for sharing this one!)

And this one required a bit of introduction--I found repeated mention of "little sugar cakes" as a favorite party food, but had no clue what they were. Petit fours?? Maybe. But as I was searching yesterday, I found this recipe for "Sugar Jumbles / Little Sugar Cakes" which I knew right away were what I was looking for. I'd already discovered that "jumbles" were cookies, and it suddenly clicked about the sugar cakes being the same. So thank you to A Lovely Thought blog (http://anartsideoflife.blogspot.com/2011/04/sugar-cakes-and-tea.html) for this recipe I found!

Sugar Jumbles 
little sugar cakes of old-time goodness

Mix together……… 1/2 cup soft butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla
Sift together and stir in………. 1 1/8 cups flour, 1/4 teaspoon soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Drop rounded teaspoonfuls about 2” apart on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake until delicately brown… cookies should still be soft.

TEMPERATURE: 375’
 TIME: Bake 8 to 10 min.
AMOUNT: About 3 dozen 2” cookies

I like to sprinkle with a powder of sugar on top, and place some pinches of lemon balm from my garden on the serving plate.

Now for the beverages! I'll have coffee, and . . .

Wassail


Ingredients:
  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 1 large can pineapple juice (unsweetened)
  • 3/4 cup tea
Place in a cheesecloth or mesh sack:
  • 1 Tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon whole allspice
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
Instructions: This is great cooked in a crock pot. Let it simmer very slowly for 4 to 6 hours. You can add water if it evaporates too much. Your home will smell wonderful, and this is a great way to set the tone for a holiday party!

And finally . . .


Martha Washington's Colonial Chocolate
George Washington’s Favorite Hot Chocolate.

4 Tablespoons Cocoa
Small amount Of Cold Water
2 Cups Water
1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Cups Milk
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
Small amount Of Cold Milk
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Hot Water
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Mix Cocoa And Cold Water To A Smooth Paste In A Saucepan. Stir In The 2 Cups Water, Sugar And Milk. Bring To A Boil And Blend In Cornstarch Which Has Been Dissolved In The Cold Milk. Boil 3 Minutes Longer.

Remove From Heat And Set In A Warm Place. Beat Egg And Hot Water Until Light And Foamy. Pour Half Of Egg Mixture Into A Pitcher. Blend In Vanilla Extract. Add To Chocolate Slowly. Pour Remaining Egg Mixture Over Top. Serve.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Word of the Week - Cameo

I can't tell you how much time I spent chasing rabbits down trails (literarily speaking) for a one-line mention in my books. Like, did they have bells over the doors in 18th century New York? Hard to discover.

This last week, one of my random questions was, thankfully, easily answered. I wanted a character to mention a cameo necklace, which I was pretty darn sure were around and popular by the 1860s, but I've been wrong before. So I looked it up.

I was pleased to see that cameo, by which I mean a carved stone with two layers of color, has been around since the 16th century. Cameos maintained a steady popularity for centuries--Elizabeth I had a sizable collection, as did Catherine the Great. And since Queen Victoria favored them, they even stuck around during the fast-changing fashion of the 19th century.

In 1851 the word was attributed to "a short literary sketch or portrait." Very much related to the pendant, which commonly depict a bust or figure (though not always). And so this sense was also transferred to the stage/film in 1928, when it came to mean "a brief role that stands out from other minor parts in a performance."

I have a cameo necklace I inherited from my great-grandmother, and I love it. =) There's something so very romantic about those treasures from times past . . .

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thoughtful About . . . RELEASE DAY!!!

It's December 1. As in, December 1, 2011. As in, the official release day of Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland. Give me a moment.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, I'm back. ;-)



So this is technically my third Release Day. But it's the first one that was ushered in by a call from my mom that went like this:

Mom: "So do you want the news?"

Me: "What news?" as Rowyn is sitting on the counter with a giant spoonful of yogurt that's threatening to glop its way all over everything.

Mom: "I was in WalMart today, and they had Annapolis out!"

Me, totally ignoring pending yogurt catastrophe: "THEY DID????!!!!!!!!!! Did you take a picture?"

Mom: "Well, I did, yes. Problem is, I can't get it off my phone. So I called your Aunt Pam and told her to go with her iPhone and take a picture and email it to me."

LOL. So it's been spotted. Woot!

Yep, that's my thoughtfulness for the day. =) I'm going to be trying to set up signings here and there and everywhere, which will involve some phone calls today and tomorrow. Which I didn't set up already because November was writing challenge month--not doing THAT in the month before a release again! LOL

Okay, happy day. I have big plans for organizing my basement today, folding laundry . . . all that fun stuff I neglected while trying to write and organize some media stuff. ;-)

Happy Release Day, everyone! And remember to check out my Great ANNAPOLIS Giveaway (linked above) and check out the ways you can rack up those entries! (Including sending me pictures of Annapolis on a shelf in your local store. Yes, I just want to see it for the pure joy, LOL.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Remember When . . . The Language Changed?

My poor hero just got shot. Fell overboard. Washed up on a Cuban beach in the Pinar del Rio province, near a few tobacco plantations.

And his poor author suddenly realized that the people there he'd be interacting with would be speaking--gasp--Spanish!

See, I took French in high school. I took French in college (and Ancient Greek). The many, many times I've had characters dealing with French-speaking folk, I do okay. Sure, I'm rusty, but I have that giant, unabridged French-English dictionary sitting on my shelf. I make do. ;-)

Spanish though . . . yeah, my Spanish is limited to what I've learned from Dora and Handy Manny, and the obligatory mannerly phrases. But there's no way around it. Cuba in the 1860s was, quite simply, Spanish. So I must dig out my limited knowledge, pull up an online Spanish-English dictionary, and also call on the help of some fluent Facebook friends who have proven themselves happy to jump into a conversation on which word for "shattered" I should use. ;-)

But the hilarious thing is that, even when I want to pepper in a Spanish word that we all know, I keep messing it up. My thoughts sound something like this: "Okay, 'please.' I know the word for 'please,' obviously. It's s'il vous pl--aggggghhh! Por favor, Roseanna--Spanish. Not French, Spanish!"

So I decided to make another character share my difficulties. ;-) See, one of the primary people in these scenes is a well-educated British man. Who would be fluent in what other language? French! So he, too, gets to keep lasping into the wrong secondary language. =)

Poor Phin will be stranded on Cuba for a couple months. Poor Roseanna will be done writing those scenes in the next couple weeks. But until then, that dictionary tab will stay open in my internet window. Those Facebook friends will remain on call.

And I'll be trying my best not to make a Spanish planter say "Merci, monsieur."

~*~

And don't forget to check out the first blog review of Love Finds You in Annapolis! (Which has a few French phrases! LOL) You can leave a comment for a chance to win a copy. =)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Word of the Week - Morphine

I know, I know--what a strange, bizarre word of the week. And now y'all are probably wondering what I got into this weekend! ;-)

Actually, it comes up because I'm a cruel author who just seriously injured her hero. I need him to be out of it for a while so said, "Hmm, they had some powerful drugs by then. Was morphine one of them?"

Yep.

And the name is just too interesting not to share. Did you know that morphine is named after one of the Greek gods as brought to us by Ovid in his Metamorphosis? (Not to be confused to Kafka's book by the same name . . . and not to get into how much I despised said book-by-the-same-name each of the three times I was forced to read it . . .)

Anyway. Apparently Ovid gave the name Morpheus to the god of dreams. When the Germans named this lovely drug in 1816, they called it morphin in allusion to Morpheus, because of its sleep-inducing properties. The French, of course, changed it to Morphine. Which we borrowed in 1828 and have been using ever since.

Now to make sure my hero doesn't develop a dependency--he has enough problems to deal with, I don't wanna go there! LOL

And for those of you who are amassing those entries into the Great ANNAPOLIS Giveaway and/or interested in winning a free copy of Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland all by its lonesome, hop right back over to the Colonial Quills and leave a comment on my very first full-length blog review. =)

http://colonialquills.blogspot.com/2011/11/review-of-love-finds-you-in-annapolis.html

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thoughtful About . . . Being Thankful For . . .

Thank you, Lord, for all You do for me. For sending Jesus to save me, for knowing me from eternity, for setting me on this path, surrounding me with friends and family, and holding my hand all through it.

Thank you, Lord, for placing me in a loving family, one that encourages and cheers me on, that holds me when I cry, that dusts off my knees when I fall. For amazing parents and a sister whose smile brightens my day. For nieces and in-laws and extended family that I love so very much.

Thank you, Lord, for my husband. Thank you, thank you, thank you for bringing our lives together so early, for the ten wonderful years of marriage we've already had, and for the future still stretching before us.

Thank you, Lord, for these precious children with whom you've entrusted me. Sweet little Xoe with her generous spirit and creativity, energetic Rowyn with his whole-hearted approach to life. They are blessings beyond compare.

Thank you, Lord, for the friends to whom You've led me. Those from my childhood who helped me grow, those from college who will always be so dear, those I've met through my writing that have become close as family.

Thank you for the one I've lost this year, for the time you gave us together and all the lessons she taught me. Thank you for the ones still fighting, still holding on.

Thank you, Lord, for a year of blessing after journeying through the valley last year. Thank you for a year of five contracts, which just baffles and awes me after working so hard for so long. Thank you for this new book that is even now sitting beside me, and for the ever-increasing success of the ones that came before it.

Thank you, Lord, for all You do for me. For sending Jesus to save me. For knowing me from eternity. For setting me on this path. For surrounding me with friends and family. And for holding my hand all through it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Remember When . . . Thanksgiving Came?

We all the know the story of the Mayflower and the very first Thanksgiving.
If you want to learn about how a day was set aside to give thanks in December during the Revolution, following the Battle of Saratoga, you should check out Elaine Cooper's post on the Colonial Quills today.

And if you have all my blog posts memorized going back years (ahem), you'll realize that much of what is to come is reposted from two years ago. ;-)

In the Old Testament there were commands for giving thanks to God, as well as New Testament guidelines. That we take time to give thanks is of vital importance--it not only gives the praise where it's due, it helps us refocus. To get our priorities straight. To really enjoy what we have been given rather than thinking only of what we yet need.

I really love that our country has a history of setting aside a day for this--that some of the first settlers were here to seek free worship of God, and that they honored him for his faithfulness, in spite of the hardships.

I find it even more inspiring that there were people like Sarah Hale who cared enough about this tradition to fight for it. She first succeeded in getting each state to recognize the day, then, eventually, convinced President Lincoln to have the nation honor it as one. At a time when the country was torn by war, this was a monumental moment, one that helped us heal.

In some ways, Thanksgiving is viewed as a "second-rate" holiday to modern people--it doesn't require presents, and in fact is often lost in the anticipation for Black Friday--and for Christmas. It only rates as a chance to host an elaborate meal.

But I remember my own childhood, when I sat back in my room one Thanksgiving smelling that wonderful turkey, knowing that soon my family would be coming. I remember spending some time writing a story about a girl named Felicia, which I knew meant something like "happy." I remember cutting out some construction paper turkeys for all my family members. And I remember thinking, "This is one of the happiest days in the year. Where everyone just comes over to be together."

I still love the holiday for that very reason. It's a chance to come together with those I love and just be. Be there. Be together. Be thankful for all the Lord has given me.

Thank you, Father, for putting me in a country with such a history of recognizing You.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Changes

In this lovely world I'm in, filled with deadlines (praise the Lord!) and very little free time, it has become necessary to streamline operations. ;-) So, since I haven't been reading enough to share a review every week anyway, and since my Friday features have been fizzling (oh, how I love alliteration! LOL), Tuesday and Friday posts are going to become as-needed. I will still be blogging regularly on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, but Tuesdays and Fridays will be used only when I have a special announcement about my books, a review I want to feature, or some other bit to share that doesn't fit on M-W-Th.

And in keeping with that, check it out! Amazon is reporting Love Finds You in Annapolis as in stock and 1-2 days of processing away from shipping! Woot!


Happy reading, everyone! And don't forget to visit the Colonial Quill for my interview there! =)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Word of the Week - The Backup Plan

The other day as I was writing in my work-in-progress, I hit a spot where my heroine's mother is pushing an eligible man toward the heroine (metaphorically, or course, LOL), and my heroine reminds her that she is all but engaged--to which Mama says, "It never hurts to have a backup plan."

But wait--a warning bell went of in my mind. Backup plan. Was that too modern for 1861? A quick hop over to www.etymonline.com and I knew that, yep, it was way too modern.

Back up dates from 1767, but in the sense of "stand behind and support." This is the verb use, what someone does for you or that you do to corroborate facts, perhaps. Evidence will back up a theory, that sort of thing.

The noun form meaning "standby, reserve" didn't come to us until 1954.

But this was one of those that left me staring at the computer with lips pursed and thoughts racing. How in the world could Mama phrase this, then? I ended up using "secondary." But it's obvious I need a better backup plan for when I can't use "backup plan." ;-)

On a side note, my Annapolis Blog Tour is underway! Check out the Colonial Quills for my interview there, and leave a comment for a chance to win a copy, and rack up a few more chances to win my Great ANNAPOLIS Giveaway while you're at it!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Faith on Fridays: I Corinthians 6

1 Corinthians 6

Avoiding Lawsuits with Christians
 1 When one of you has a dispute with another believer, how dare you file a lawsuit and ask a secular court to decide the matter instead of taking it to other believers[a]! 2 Don’t you realize that someday we believers will judge the world? And since you are going to judge the world, can’t you decide even these little things among yourselves? 3 Don’t you realize that we will judge angels? So you should surely be able to resolve ordinary disputes in this life. 4 If you have legal disputes about such matters, why go to outside judges who are not respected by the church? 5 I am saying this to shame you. Isn’t there anyone in all the church who is wise enough to decide these issues? 6 But instead, one believer[b] sues another—right in front of unbelievers! 7 Even to have such lawsuits with one another is a defeat for you. Why not just accept the injustice and leave it at that? Why not let yourselves be cheated? 8 Instead, you yourselves are the ones who do wrong and cheat even your fellow believers.[c]
 9 Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. 11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Avoiding Sexual Sin
 12 You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. 13 You say, “Food was made for the stomach, and the stomach for food.” (This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them.) But you can’t say that our bodies were made for sexual immorality. They were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies. 14 And God will raise us from the dead by his power, just as he raised our Lord from the dead. 15 Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! 16 And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, “The two are united into one.”[d] 17 But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.
 18 Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

~*~

I really like the perspective this chapter gives on why things are wrong. That our bodies are not our own, but rather belong to God, to Jesus. The verse about joining Jesus to a prostitute--wow. Do we really stop and think, as we're going through our day, that wherever we go, we're taking Him along with us?

We know Jesus didn't shy away from the dark or the ugly. He would go places we deem questionable--but you better bet he would stay above sin while there. And because we are joined with him, because we are His and He is ours, we can do the same.

And yes, I've heard that argument about sex--it's natural! Just like food. But I think Paul answers it perfectly. I think he does a great job drawing out that it's natural when done right, according to God's command.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thoughtful About . . . Being Wanted

I'm sitting here with a little boy climbing all over me. Sitting on the arm of my chair. Hanging from my neck. Inching his finger closer and closer to my keyboard. When I send him one of those Mommy looks, he flashes those cute little dimples of his and giggles in that way only little kids can giggle--then lunges across my lap and proceeds to dangle off the chair while kicking me in the face.

Oh, yes. There's nothing like a little kid, and especially a little boy. =)

Over the weekend my church had an open house Thanksgiving dinner and music service to celebrate our new building. After the meal, when we went up to the sanctuary for the music, my daughter and her cousins decided they wanted to sit in the pew in front of us, but Rowyn climbed into his spot on my lap and wouldn't be budged.

As any mother can attest to, there are moments aplenty when you just want two minutes of peace. Two minutes of quiet. Two minutes without hearing, "I want Mommmmmmyyyyyyyyyyyyy!" echoing through your house.

But as any mother can attest to, when you have a sweet little one snuggled in your lap grinning up at you, frustration can't long keep a hold on you. As I sat there in church enjoying the cuddles of my baby, I had one of those moments where I realized that this little boy would soon be a big boy, then a teenager. He will soon grow out of sitting on laps and being perfectly content in my arms. He's my youngest, so it hit me a little harder than it did with his sister.

It's as it should be, yes. Kids have to grow up. Parents' roles shift and change. There are new expectations, new things to delight us. For instance, with my 6-year-old daughter, you can't (or can, LOL) imagine the feeling it gives me when she helps someone younger or brings a smile to an elderly woman's eyes. When she draws a truly impressive picture or astounds me with a bit of insight or logic.

As the kids grow up, they want me in different ways. And frankly, it gets frustrating when they regress and want me to do what they hadn't for months. But thinking about it makes me ponder how the analogy works in faith.

God must really love a new Christian. Love the way they cling to Him with that innocence, with that fear that if they let go, the world may just come and get them. I bet He loves snuggling new believers in His arms and saying "Abba's here. Shhhh. Abba's here."

And maybe there's the heavenly equivalent of a bittersweet pang when He realizes that stage won't last forever. But then, the whole point is to teach us to go out. To grow up. To learn and develop and step out--not on our own, never on our own, but with that degree of independence.

If I'm a good mama, I'm going to equip my kiddos with what they need to move beyond my lap. But it's my prayer they never leave, not in a way that prohibits coming back, coming home, getting a hug.

It's good to be wanted. Certainly in our walk of faith, it's good to rely on God. But He wants us to grow from milk to meat, from uncertainty to trust in the way He's equipped us. Just like I want the cuddles to be punctuated with them doing for themselves, He wants us to rely on Him but also rely on His teachings to go do--do what's He's commissioned us to do.

The adorable little monkey is hanging on my arm again, alternately making me laugh and plead, "Please, Rowyn, two minutes. Just give me two minutes to finish up." Here's praying that today as God looks down on me, He's saying, "I love it when you work right there beside me, Daughter. Know I'm here, always right here . . . but don't be afraid to go do what I've taught you to do."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Remember When . . . More Cultures Clashed?

One of the most intriguing parts of my current work-in-progress is without a doubt the slave culture in that part of Georgia at the time. I've already blogged on my experience discovering the rich Gullah-Geechee a few weeks ago here: http://roseannamwhite.blogspot.com/2011/10/remember-when-cultures-collided-in-old.html



But I've discovered whole new facets since then. =)

See, one thing I've decided to do is show this rich African-American (and I use that term not in the modern sense but rather as a way of showing how the two cultures combined into something new, the Gullah-Geechee culture) by contrasts within the black characters. It's turning out to be a lot of fun.

First I have Chloe, a young slave who's a mulatto and the daughter of the master--which the mistress knows but the legitimate children don't. Chloe spent the first ten or so years of her life on a rice plantation with her mother and her mother's family.

Now, rice plantations were harsh places, where life expectancy was 5 years in the fields and the infant mortality rate among the slaves was in the nineties. This certainly played a part in the spiritual lives of the slaves and what we today would call their superstitions. In a world where death lurked right around the corner, the underworld was never far away, right?

So Chloe was raised believing spirits came up out the waterways and ghosts haunted the world. Her aunt is a conjurer. It's what she knew. But when she was moved to the city, Christianity became more real to her, and in a way that forced her to separate out some of the "superstitious" beliefs--though it was rare for them all to be abandoned. Still, compared to the other slaves she's around, she'd got a way of thinking more like what we know . . . but with a very strong connection to and respect for that other world that whites couldn't understand.

But then we have Luther, who is a free black born and raised in England. And this is where the fun comes in. =) In England, he was raised with something close to equality, given the chance to be educated and is in fact a minister. He's lived all his life in a fine (if modest) house, with fine (if modest) clothes. But he ends up in Cuba to try to purchase his wife's aging grandmother for her and gets trapped in a whole different world. One where everyone's sneering at him, black and white alike. Blacks because they see him as someone who has forgotten his roots, and whites because he "puts on airs."

A fun contrast to be sure. Chloe and Luther are my two secondary POV characters, one with her Geechee speech pattern, the other with his British accent, and I'm having a blast incorporating them into the story! Can't wait to see how they force my plot to shift and change to adapt to them . . . and how I manage to keep them from taking over, LOL. Good thing Delia and Phin are great characters in their own right!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I would like to draw your attention . . .

Upward. Have you seen the new tabs up the top here? If you glance up at my pages, you'll notice a couple additions. The first is for the Great ANNAPOLIS Giveaway. You'll want to check this out, as it's such a great giveaway pack that I'm tempted to keep one of them for myself. ;-) 



Yes, I admit it--I designed the giveaway so that there's enough stuff in it that you won't wait to see if you won before buying LFY Annapolis. ;-) You'll instead go, "Ooo, look at that journal and quill! And Lark used some just like it? Can't wait to find out where and how! I'm going to get Annapolis. If I win this totally awesome giveaway, I can always give that extra copy to my mom for Christmas . . . or better still, keep the signed one, and give my original copy to the church library!" Yes, I'm just that maniacal. Mwa ha ha ha.

And it's one of those giveaways where you can rack up the entries with each thing you do. So definitely check out the rules, and visit each stop on my blog tour--which is that second new tab up top.

Also, please keep scrolling down the page and see my post from yesterday about an amazing fundraiser for Sandi Rog, who is suffering from cancer.

(For those of you who are shaking your head and saying, "When is she going to talk about books again??" I assure you I did last week, and if you didn't see that post, it was about a truly awesome biblical you should pre-order, by Mesu Andrews: Love's Sacred Song. But at the moment I'm only two chapters into my next book, so . . .)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Special Announcement!



Hear ye, hear ye! Here's your chance to contribute to a wonderful cause this holiday season--and come away with the work of some of your favorite authors!

One year ago, author and editor Sandi Rog had a big day approaching--the release of her first novel, The Master's Wall. Set in first-century Rome, this is an epic story of faith and love. But the very day her book released, Sandi's life shattered--she learned she had a very aggressive cancer, t-cell lymphoma.

The past year has been a huge struggle for Sandi and her family as she underwent chemo, radiation, and bone marrow transfusion. Just when she thought she had this beast beat, she learned that in fact the cancer is still present. So they're trying a new treatment . . . this one not covered by insurance.

Sandi's friends, both neighbors and online, have rallied together to try to help the Rog family, and Alison Strobel Morrow has developed a marvelous plan. She's hosting a raffle fundraiser whose proceeds will go to the Rogs, with a goal of $20,000. The items to be raffled are all donated, and tickets are $5. You can purchase as many as you want and apply as many tickets per prize basket as you like.

The basket you see above has been assembled by the Colonial Quills, many of whom are dear friends of this dear woman--we have put together a complete box of goodies to be raffled off! The raffle will begin on November 25th, and the CQ items include:


* A signed copy of Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland by Roseanna M. White
* A copy of Highland Crossings, signed by contributing author Gina Welborn
* A Pampered Chef knife & dual sharpener - the knife being the favorite utensil of the confectioner heroine of Gina's story, and who wants a dull one?
* A signed copy of The Chamomile by Susan F. Craft
* A packet of chamomile seeds & a packet of chamomile tea
* A mobcap
* A $15 Starbucks gift card
* Surrender the Dawn by MaryLu Tyndall
*Fire Dragon's Angel by Barbara Blythe
*The Colonel's Lady by Laura Frantz

And that's not the only basket I have my hand in! For some great historical fiction plus an amazing gift certificate opportunity, check out this one:


This one includes:

*Jewel of Persia by yours truly - Digital AND Print
* A Stray Drop of Blood by me as well - Digital AND Print
* A Stray Drop t-shirt that reads "One little drop to soil the garment / One little drop to cleanse the soul" (S, M, L, XL available)
* Dance of the Dandelion by Dina Sleiman - Digital AND Print
* Shadowed in Silk by Christine Lindsay - Digital AND Print
* Love Amid the Ashes by Mesu Andrews
* And a $50 gift certificate to the Greek Jewelry Shop!

To get in on the fun and also have the joy of helping a family in need of our prayers and support, please visit www.FundraiserForSandiRog.blogspot.com to view these baskets and many more! Bidding will begin Thanksgiving week!!

Have items you'd like to donate to the cause? Check out the information page at the fundraiser blog. (Individual items will be gathered into "baskets" by the coordinator.)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Faith on Fridays: I Corinthians 5

1 Corinthians 5

Paul Condemns Spiritual Pride
 1 I can hardly believe the report about the sexual immorality going on among you—something that even pagans don’t do. I am told that a man in your church is living in sin with his stepmother.[a] 2 You are so proud of yourselves, but you should be mourning in sorrow and shame. And you should remove this man from your fellowship. 3 Even though I am not with you in person, I am with you in the Spirit.[b] And as though I were there, I have already passed judgment on this man 4 in the name of the Lord Jesus. You must call a meeting of the church.[c] I will be present with you in spirit, and so will the power of our Lord Jesus. 5 Then you must throw this man out and hand him over to Satan so that his sinful nature will be destroyed[d] and he himself[e] will be saved on the day the Lord[f] returns.
 6 Your boasting about this is terrible. Don’t you realize that this sin is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old “yeast” by removing this wicked person from among you. Then you will be like a fresh batch of dough made without yeast, which is what you really are. Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us.[g] 8 So let us celebrate the festival, not with the old bread[h] of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread[i] of sincerity and truth.
 9 When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. 10 But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. 11 I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer[j] yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.
 12 It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. 13 God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”

~*~

Today's chapter above is brought to us by the New Living Translation ... and ought to hit home for society today.

Do we ignore this chapter? It seems like too many Christians do. I don't know about you, but I've had friends aplenty in the church who fell prey to sexual sin. It's one of those things that can sometimes still shock us, but which in general we've become desensitized to.

That makes me so, so sad.

I understand sexual temptation. I understand passion. As anyone who has read my books can attest to, I believe that passion is a necessary and beautiful part of life. But I also believe it can be destructive if we let it rule us when we ought to keep it bridled.

Paul doesn't sugarcoat the issue here--he calls it out more strongly than I've ever noted him calling out anything else. In other parts, he invites us to admonish our brothers and sister who are sinning, to challenge them to stop and confess their sins. Then, if they don't cease their bad behavior, to cast them out. But he doesn't give them a second chance here, does he? He says, "Throw them out and hand them over to Satan."

Yikes. Though I mean, a guy with his stepmother ... and they were boasting about it??

This is a tough issue, one that's made all the more confusing to modern readers by changes in marriage customs over the centuries. Things are formal now that didn't used to be, and lax that were once formal. But one thing remains unchanged:

God calls us to something holy and beautiful. And all too often, we throw it away.

I'd really like to get a conversation going on this oh-so-important topic. What are your thoughts?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thoughtful About . . . Keeping Up

I've realized something over the last two weeks: I can't do it all.

I know, right? SHOCKER. Call the local news! Roseanna White cannot do everything! ;-) But seriously, this was a big deal for me. This realization that I have finally reached my saturation point, that I have taken on all I can handle and maybe a little bit more.

That something's got to give, and it's going to have to be my stubborn determination to keep all those balls in the air.

I've had these days and weeks before, the ones where I feel totally overwhelmed and ready to snap. But usually, those have been from self-imposed deadlines (which I take just as seriously as outside-imposed ones, but still), from self-determined tasks.

Not so right now. Now I have obligations to others, people depending on me for things only I can do. I'd be happy to delegate--really, I would be. But can someone else write my books for me?

Um, no.

Can someone else do my editing?

Um, not really, no--not some parts of it.

Can someone else pack up all the books, manage all the lists? If we hire someone, but at the moment, I'm it.

Can someone else teach my kids?

Well, actually...

See, my husband and I decided back when we were in high school that we were going to homeschool. We knew that was what we were supposed to do to guarantee that our kids got the education we really want them to have. And I love knowing exactly what they're taught, exactly how they're doing. I love being able to answer their questions.

I love it--but I'm afraid that with all that's on my plate right now, I'm not giving it the attention it needs. And I've had to entertain the notion this past week that at a certain point, what's best for my kids' education might not be me.

Ouch.

It's hard for someone who has always been confident in her ability to do whatever she set her mind on to admit that maybe she's let things slip too far. Maybe she's hurting more than she's helping. Maybe the messy house has degraded into a certifiable disaster zone, maybe the good intentions aren't enough, maybe some things would be better off if she got her hand out of them.

But that's where I am. And you know, realizing that is . . . freeing. All of a sudden I know that some things are going to change. And I know that it's going to take time and work to change them. But I can hear the Lord whispering in my ear, "I ask you to do your tasks, daughter--not everyone else's. Do them, do them well. And then let go."

Sometimes trying to keep up is just a matter of pride, not a matter of doing what you actually should. I think that's where I've been lately. But it's finally to the point where I want to let some things go. Where the blessings in one realm are going to help me balance out the need in another. Thank you, Lord, for letting it work that way!

I don't think change is ever easy, but you know--sometimes staying the same is even harder. There comes a time when we can't keep up with the race we've entered. It doesn't mean we should give up . . . just that we should take a different course.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Remember When . . . Annapolis Came to Life?

Yikes! I looked down at my clock and realized I'd totally spaced my blog this morning, largely because I'm several other places today. So I'm going to throw together a hodge-podge for you. =)

First, if you are just dying for that taste of Wednesday history and missed my Fashion Baby post a couple months ago, hop on over to the Colonial Quills and check out my In Ye Olden Days feature about the dolls that brought us our fashion news in the 18th century at http://colonialquills.blogspot.com/2011/11/in-ye-olden-days-fashion-babies.html.

And today is kind of a sneak peek of my blog tour! The first interview with me that has some focus on Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland is up today on Anne Payne's Stuff and Nonsense blog. Stop on by here: http://duhpaynes.com/2011/11/09/author-interview-roseanna-white/!

All my future tours will probably be only a few days in length with multiple stops per day, but this one is spread out through December and January, and will begin and end with what is shaping up to be an awesome giveaway package, if I do say so myself. ;-) The official tour launches on Colonial Quills and will wrap up on Seekerville, so I'm very excited!

A peek at that giveaway package . . .



A leather Bombay journal, much like the one Lark received for Christmas in Chapter Eight.
A French quill and ink set, much like the one Lark would have written with in above journal. ;-)

A Colonial-style mug with individual packages of gourmet hot chocolate ~ chocolate being a favored drink of the era, though thicker and richer than these are likely to be (I haven't ordered the mugs yet . . . am hoping to find some from our local pottery store. So this picture won't likely be exact, though the style is what I'll be seeking).

A Colonial-styled doll, not unlike the fashion babies in the post I linked to above. ;-) (Hey, gotta give something that'll interest the kids in your life!)

And of course, a copy of Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland signed by yours truly. ;-)

This isn't the official prize information or anything, so some changes are likely, and I haven't yet ironed out the details of entering. But I'm looking forward to the launch of Annapolis and seeing it come to life! Hope y'all are excited too. =)