Monday, July 15, 2019

The Truth about John Quincy Adams

I have to give my pastor, Mitch Prosser credit for peaking my interest in our 6th president. He used him as an example in his message a few weeks back and of course I was hooked since it was interesting history! 

How many times have you read through the bible? Is it something you try to do yearly?

Our 6th president, John Quincy Adams was a strong Christian, an avid student of the bible and made it a point to read through his bible once every year. He believed in raising his children in a godly home with godly influence but found himself away from home so much with his first child due to being an oversea diplomat that he wrote nine lengthy letters to his son explaining to him how to study the bible. 

John Quincy Adams first served was elected as a senator in 1803. He went on to be the 6th president of the Untied States. After serving as president, Adams returned to congress. He is the only president to ever serve as a senator after being president. He did this because he believed there was a great evil in our nation, and that was slavery. He fought year after year trying end slavery. His motto was, "The duty is ours, the results are God's." He did because he knew it was the right and moral thing to do. But ultimately he also knew that God was in control of when it would happen.

In the 1840's he came up with a three step plan to end slavery in America. But as we all know, that plan never happened for him and slavery continued. But as Adams continued to serve as a senator he never gave up on that dream and  by his last year in congress he had won nearly all of the house over to his plan to end slavery.

He'd been in congress for seventeen years and helped many get elected. There was also a young freshman who'd been elected and that young man joins on with John Quincy Adams and becomes a large part of the anti-slavery movement. He serves along side of Adams and is impressed by the veteran senator. Adam takes the young man alongside of him and mentors him. He teaches him all he knows and shares his three step plan to end slavery with the young freshman. He still hasn't been able to get the senate to come along with him but Adams still hasn't given up on his dream and he shares it all with this young man. 

When John Quincy Adams died, this young man ended up being one of his pallbearers. The young man ran again for congress after Adams death but wasn't reelected. The next time this man was elected was in 1860 and he was elected as the President of the United States--Abraham Lincoln. 

Though John Quincy Adams didn't get to see the ending of slavery, he left his mark and his influence on young Lincoln and when Lincoln became president 12 years later, he put those same steps taught to him by Adams, into action and was able to accomplish Adam's dream.

Amnesia can numb your pain…

…. unless it gets you killed.

A freak earthquake upends Olivia’s world, while two men claim her love. When her memory begins to return in bits and pieces, Olivia discovers embezzlement. With danger lurking all around her, she must continue the charade of amnesia. But will time run out on her before she uncovers the truth? Buy Shattered Memories

Debbie Lynne Costello is the author of Sword of Forgiveness, Amazon's #1 seller for Historical Christian Romance. She has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina with their 5 horses, 3 dogs, cat and miniature donkey.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

The sinking of the city deemed "The Wickedest City in the World"

In 1692 an earthquake struck the city of Port Royal Jamaica, a city that had been deemed the Wickedest City in the World. Port Royal was a British outpost, a thriving shipping and merchant community. If you have seen the first pirate movie, you may remember Port Royal was the city Captain Jack Sparrow first sailed (or rather sunk) his ship into. With a population close to 6500, the city was larger than New York City at the time. Cramped, unhealthy, and wanton, the port town was settled for reasons purely of lust and greed and was filled with pirates, privateers, sailors, and other greedy sorts. There were a few honorable souls among the inhabitants, but they were in the minority. Two such honorable men were the Reverend Dr. Emmanuel Heath of Christchurch and Sir Hans Sloane.

On the morning of June 7th, Dr. Sloane and his son set out for the mainland by canoe to visit patients in Spanish Town. Dr. Heath attended his church as he did every morning trying to set an example for "a most ungodly, debauched people". Dr. Heath was on his way for lunch at the home of Captain Ruden, but he stopped at an Inn to have a glass of wormwood wine with a merchant friend

At approximately 11:40 am he felt the ground “rowling and moving” under his feet. His friend told him it was only an earthquake and would be over soon, but when Dr. Heath ran into the street, he felt two more larger jolts, and by the time he arrived at Captain Ruden's house, it had vanished into the sea. Dr, Heath’s church fared no better. It rapidly descended into the sea, its tower collapsing in the process.

An eyewitness describes:
The sand in the street rose like the waves of the sea, lifting up all persons that stood upon it, and immediately dropping down into its; and at the same instant a flood of water rushed in, throwing down all who were in its way; some were seen catching hold of beams and rafters of houses, others were found in the sand that appeared when the water was drained away, with their legs and arms out.

Dr. Heath attempted to make his escape by running towards Morgan’s Fort, but he saw the sea “mounting in’.  Those who had survived the initial earthquake now faced a tidal wave from the south. Not good news for those still trapped in the wreckage of buildings. Dr. Heath headed for his house, which he found still standing, as most were in the eastern section of the city due to being built on an underlying corraline mass.

Meanwhile out in the harbor Dr. Sloane and his sons reported:

We were near being overwhelmed by a swift rolling sea, six feet above the surface, without any wind, but it pleased God to save us, being forced back to Linguanea, where I found all houses even with the ground, not a place to put one's head in, but in Negro houses. The terrible earthquake shook down and drowned nine-tenths of the town of Port Royal in two minutes time, and by the wharfside in less than one. Very few escaped there. I lost all my people and goods, my wife and two men, Mrs. B and her daughter. One white maid escaped who gave me an account that her mistress was in her closet, two pair of stairs high, and she was sent into the garret, where Mrs. B and her daughter were, when she felt the earth quake and bid her take up her child and run down, but, turning about, met the water at the top of the garret stairs, for the house sunk right down and is now under thirty feet of water

Two-thirds of the town, sank into the sea immediately after the main shock. According to Robert Renny in his 'An History of Jamaica' (1807): "All the wharves sunk at once, and in the space of two minutes, nine-tenths of the city were covered with water, which was raised to such a height, that it entered the

uppermost rooms of the few houses which were left standing. The tops of the highest houses, were visible in the water, and surrounded by the masts of vessels, which had been sunk along with them."

 It is believed that nearly 2000 people lost their lives in the actual quake and several thousand more in the disease and looting and starvation afterward.  Among the persons of note who perished were: Attorney-General Simon Musgrave, Provost-Marshal Reeves, Colonel Reade, Captain Ruden and Naval Officer Reginald Wilson. There were many narrow escapes and miraculous deliverances. One such miracle happened to Lewis Galdy who was first swallowed up and sucked out to sea by the first seismic wave then miraculously returned to land by the second.  A young Mrs. Akers was swallowed up in a gap in the land then ejected into the sea and within three  minutes was rescued by a ship.

The earthquake sank the narrow sandbar that connected Port Royal to the mainland and made it an island again. In the aftermath several hundred people found safety on the HMS Swam a royal navy ship that and been washed ashore. Dr. Heath  survived and was instrumental in helping rescue survivors and get them proper care.

Though many tried to rebuild Port Royal, it never returned to its former glory and most of the merchant business transferred to Kingston. History lovers and treasure hunters diving at Port Royal over the years have found many fascinating artifacts. One item of interest was a watch that had stopped at seventeen minutes before twelve: the time of the third and greatest shock.

I found this history so fascinating, I wrote a romance novel based on it called The Ransom!  

In 1692 Jamaica, women were not allowed to run businesses. But Juliana has no choice. To save her family and keep her secret, she allies herself with the town buffoon. Alex, the most feared pirate in Port Royal, leads a dual life to stave off his boredom, but when his infatuation with Juliana puts them in grave danger, only a divine hand can lead them to safety as Port Royal sinks into the sea. 

Purchase from Amazon

Saturday, July 13, 2019

The Craftsman House Series: Interiors

In last month’s post, we took a look at defining exterior features of Craftsman homes. This month, let’s step inside the front door. These adorable homes share some commonalities sure to warm your heart.

Walls: Often wood-paneled to chair-rail or plate-rail height, stained to a golden oak or oak brown. Painted softwood seen in bedrooms, initially white but other colors later in the period. Stencils above plate rails were popular, using a nature or abstract geometric design in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright. Murals and frescoes. Kitchens and bathrooms feature tongue-and-groove paneling. Generous baseboards and window trim. Plain walls painted in earth tones and hues of vegetables and stones or originally covered with burlap, grass cloth, or nature-inspired wallpaper.

Ceilings: Trimmed with angled or boxed beams and crown moldings.

Doors: Five panels, horizontal and recessed, most common. Pocket doors. French doors with Prairie grid panes.

Bathroom: Lots of white. Hand-crafted, glazed (often green!) or hexagonal tiles. Pedestal sinks and free-standing tubs. Wood trim stained dark, including the mirror-surround. Shaker-style cabinets.

Kitchen: Early sinks were wall-hung or on legs, but starting in the 1920s, some homes employed scalloped half-doors to hide plumbing. Natural oak cabinets with flat-panel doors, some with glass. Pendant lights with mica. Hand-crafted tiles or natural stone as backsplash. Hardware and fixtures with warm finishes, like bronze, antique brass, and copper. Eating nooks with built-in benches.

Special features: Expect to see many practical amenities built into the Craftsman home. Murphy beds, built-in cupboards, telephone nooks, window seats, mud rooms, and ironing boards. Front doors may include surrounds featuring beveled or stained glass in geometric or nature-themed patterns. Colonnades were room-dividing sets of pillars atop pedestal bases rising knee- to chest-high, often joined by a beam or arch; bookcases, bench seats, or glass-fronted china cupboards may be built in.

In my novel, Fall Flip, releasing this September with Candlelight Romance, one of the first disagreements between interior designer Shelby Dodson and contractor Scott Matthews occurs the minute they step inside the 1920s Craftsman bungalow they’re renovating for their retired clients. Leave the rich woodwork natural like preservation-driven Scott suggests, or paint it white like modernist Shelby insists? The bigger question … can Shelby work with a man so different from her late husband? 

Represented by Hartline Literary Agency, Denise Weimer holds a journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University. She’s a managing editor for Smitten Historical Romance, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, and the author of The Georgia Gold Series, The Restoration Trilogy, and a number of novellas, including Across Three Autumns of Barbour’s Colonial Backcountry Brides Collection. Her historical romance, The Witness Tree, is also releasing in September with Smitten. A wife and mother of two daughters, she always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses! Connect with Denise here:

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See also: Craftsman Perspective, Arts and Crafts Questions, Interior Decorating. Old House Online, “Bungalows of the Arts & Crafts Movement,” Patricia Poore, November 24, 2010. Arts & Crafts Homes and the Revival, “Woodwork & Finishes for the Craftsman Home,” Patricia Poore, December 3, 2013. Arts & Crafts Homes, “Design Elements of the Craftsman House.” Houzz, “Bathroom Workbook: 7 Elements of Craftsman Style,” Mitchell Parker, June 23, 2014. Houzz, “Kitchen Workbook: 8 Elements of a Craftsman Kitchen,” Lisa Frederick, April 3, 2012. The Argyle Sears Home: Home library: {{Wikipedia|}}. Home interior: {{Wikipedia|}}

Friday, July 12, 2019

Blueberry Month!

I don’t know how national days are determined, but it’s fun to see what kind of celebrations we crazy Americans set aside and deem important. Some wacky and wonderful themes are:
July 3: Compliment Your Mirror Day
July 10: Teddy Bear Picnic Day
July 15: Be a Dork Day

A perusal of the July list reveals that blueberries must be very popular during the dog days of summer. (Do dogs like blueberries? Hmm...) There are three special days to satisfy your sweet tooth and turn it purple, which begs the question, why are they blueberries and not purpleberries?

July 8: National Blueberry Day
July 10: National Pick Blueberries Day
July 11: National Blueberry Muffins Day

Consequently, July is National Blueberry Month.

Wild blueberries are native to this country and were used by the Indians for many things. They thought they were sacred because of the star-like blossom
end of the fruit. The Great Spirit provided bush after bush heavily laden with the "star berries" to relieve the hunger of their children during famine. As anyone knows, with a plethora of bounty from the garden comes an even greater desire to be creative in its preparation. They mixed them with meat to make pemmican and also combined cornmeal, honey, and water for a pudding called “sautauthig.” Medicinally, the juice made a good cough syrup and when brewed, the leaves made tea believed to fortify the blood. Crushed, they were used as a dye.

When white settlers arrived, they had problems farming with the knowledge they had brought with them. Living off the land may have been a hard concept. Having no knowledge of blueberries, they turned to the Indians who taught them how to use what the land provided, including drying the fruit for use in winter.

It wasn’t until the early 20th century that a woman named Elizabeth White, a New Jersey daughter of a cranberry grower, thought to cultivate the little blue fruit. After reading a USDA pamphlet entitled, "Experiments in Blueberry Culture," she decided to contact the author, Dr. Frederick Coville, a botanist who was seeking superior wild plants for breeding. He had already spent four years studying the blueberry and had written nearly 200 papers on their cultivation.

Dear Sir: I recently received from Washington, the report on ‘Experiments in Blueberry Culture,’ which I have read with great interest, and I write to make a suggestion in regard to future experiments. My father, Joseph J. White, is one of the largest cranberry growers in the country, and on his property are considerable areas of land too high for cranberries, but admirably suited to blueberries, judging by the way the wild ones flourish. Very respectfully yours, Miss Elizabeth C. White."

The letter paid off and they joined forces. Their desire was to make them larger, increase their quantity, and enhance their color. Thus, the high bush variety of blueberries was born, as opposed to the low bush that still grows wild today.

In the 21 Century, we use blueberries in many things, including antioxidant drinks, facial masks, and bath bombs. Desserts abound when you Google them. Amongst those is a Colonial recipe I'd like to share with you. 

Blueberry Buckle 
Not knowing what a buckle is, I found this helpful article. It explains the difference between a cobbler, crisp, and Brown Betty, along with several others including the buckle. In my quest for an authentic recipe, I found many that suggest to fold the fruit into the cake batter. But according to the article mentioned above, that is wrong. It could be called a cobbler, but not a buckle.

A true buckle is made by putting the prepared cake mix into the pan and then placing the fruit on top. The fruit sinks into the cake as it’s baked and creates a “buckling” effect. (See what I did there?) So, if your dessert doesn’t buckle, it’s not an authentic Blueberry Buckle. Sometimes a streusel topping is added, which would be my preference.

Here’s a recipe for you to try in this blueberry month of July. And don’t forget the ice cream!

A Bouquet of Brides Romance Collection
Meet seven American women who were named for various flowers but struggle to bloom where God planted them.

--Includes Periwinkle in the Park by Kathleen E. Kovach
A female hiking guide, who is helping to commission a national park, runs into conflict with a mountain man determined to keep the government off his land.

Kathleen E. Kovach is a Christian romance author published traditionally through Barbour Publishing, Inc. as well as indie. Kathleen and her husband Jim raised two sons while living the nomadic lifestyle for over twenty years in the Air Force. Now planted in northeast Colorado she's a grandmother, though much too young for that. Kathleen is a longstanding member of American Christian Fiction Writers. An award-winning author, she presents spiritual truths with a giggle, proving herself as one of God's peculiar people.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Add Spice to Your Life

Cooking with Spice
 by Martha Rogers

I have always loved to cook. My grandmother taught me to make cookies when I was only five years old. I believe that’s what led me to major in Home Economics in college. I taught homemaking in high school for eighteen years before moving on to teach college level English. Because of those early cooking days, I’ve always been interested in cooking with herbs and spices. They have been around as long as history has been recorded. We can trace them back to Biblical days and the spice routes that made up much of the trade in those days. Those early spices were highly prized and costly. Remember Joseph’s brother sold him into slavery to spice traders on their way to Egypt. 

Included among those early spices were black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg to name a few.

The spice trade picked up in Europe during the years of the Crusades which made them even more popular than ever. Since those early days, the spice trade grew and the East India Company formed by the Dutch in 1600 became one of the most powerful trading companies in history.

People often lump herbs and spices into the same barrel, but they are entirely different. Herbs are fresh or dried leaves of plants, usually green in color. They are grown in temperate climates all over the world. We have herb gardens in our yards or smaller ones in our kitchens. Fresh herbs are also available in our grocery stores or supermarkets today.

Spices are the flower, fruit, or seeds of a plant. They may also be the bark or root of tropical plants. Spices come in a variety of colors from black and brown to orange, red, and yellow. Some plants have been known to produce both herbs and spices. One such plant is Coriandrum sativum. The leaves may be dried to make the herb cilantro or the spice coriander. One of the best attributes of spices and herbs is that they add very few calories to our good. Other good things include having substantial antioxidant qualities because of flavonoids. Cumin and ginger are two of highest in antioxidant activity.
Here is an array of the colorful spices and herbs available today

Many countries adopted certain spices and herbs to liven up their cuisine. Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Italian and Greek all have spices and herbs especially identified with dishes. Many cooks stick to the same old favorites and rarely experiment with different ones to liven up our recipes, but others of us enjoy mixing and matching and coming up with new flavor combinations for our foods.

Although not as popular today, many early medical remedies included special herbs put together for their healing powers.

The list of herbs and spices is long and colorful. This month I’m listing the most popular spices. Next month I’ll post more about herbs and their uses.

Cayenne Pepper is a strong, spicy product made from tropical chilies. In its powder form, it is used in a number of ethnic cuisines such as Mexican, Indian, Southeast Asia, Chinese and African. It comes in around 200 varieties and is known to add a little heat to your dish.
Cinnamon comes from the dried bark of several different types of laurel tree and was one of the most sought after spices in early history.
Cloves are native to the Molucca islands in Indonesia and are the fruit of the clove tree. Pungent in both taste and smell, most of us have enjoyed cloves with our baked hams or in Wassail at Christmas.
Garlic can be traced back to over 5,000 years ago. The pods are made of up cloves which can be minced from the fresh pod, dried into a powder, mixed with salt, or minced and preserved in liquid. It has also been used as a way to ward off evil spirits and to cure ailments. 
Ginger was first cultivated by the Chinese and Indians, but its true source is unknown. It is a root fairly common today in both the solid form and dried powder. It is the prime spice in our favorite gingerbread concoctions.
Mace and Nutmeg come from the same fruit growing on an evergreen tree in Indonesia. Nutmeg comes from the inner brown seed while mace is the deep red outer membrane. Nutmeg has a warm, spicy and sweet flavor. It can be used in sweet dishes like spiced baked goods, custards, eggnog and on fruits. It can also be paired with vegetables for savory dishes.

 Paprika originated from Central America where the peppers grew wild. The spice was introduced in Spain in the 1600’s. The peppers are ground into a powder that varies in flavor from mild to mildly spicy to spicy and is most often seen as a garnish on such foods as deviled eggs and potato salad.
Star Anise is the fruit of a small Oriental tree native to China and Viet Nam. The boat-shaped pods give the fruit a start shape. It has a strong licorice flavor like regular anise, but star anise is bitter. It's a rather pretty fruit.
Tumeric is the root from a plant in the ginger family and has been used as a medicine, flavoring and dye for centuries. It is primarily grown in India, China and Indonesia. It’s an essential component of curry powder.
Saffron is a rare spice coming from the stigma of a flowering plant in the crocus family. To make one pound of saffron, pickers must collect as many 225,000 stigma. It has a pungent, bitter flavor and is orange in color. Today it can be purchased online.

Cuisine from India is known for its use of curry powder in its native dishes. This spice is a blend of a number of spices such as coriander, turmeric, fenugreek, and chili peppers in its blends. 

For more about curry and making your own blend, visit

Here is a picture from my own cabinet with a few of my favorite spices.

Because we didn't have enough entries last month, I'm extending my give-away to this this month. Leave a comment and tell me about your favorite spices and be entered. Be sure to leave your email address as well. If you entered last month, you may enter again for an extra chance. 

Lasso Around Her Heart: Allie Logan promised her mother to take care of the family after her death, and she’s kept that promise for over five years, but now Jarrod Wright comes into her life and threatens that promise. When she learns her of her father’s attempts to arrange a marriage between her and Jarrod by offering him land, she shuts herself off from Jarrod only to find he’s already lassoed her heart. But how can she forgive her father for offering to pay a man to marry her and Jarrod for accepting the offer? 

Martha Rogers is a multi-published author and writes a weekly devotional for ACFW. Martha and her husband Rex live in 
Houston, Texas where they are active members of First Baptist Church. They are the parents of three sons and grandparents to eleven grandchildren and great-grandparents of five. Martha is a retired teacher with twenty-eight years teaching Home Economics and English at the secondary level and eight years at the college level supervising student teachers and teaching freshman English. She is the Director of the Texas Christian Writers Conference held in Houston in August each year, a member of ACFW, ACFW WOTS chapter in Houston, and a member of the writers’ group, Inspirational Writers Alive.