I just read an interesting article in Publishers’ Weeklymagazine written by a friend of mine, Suzanne Woods Fisher. Suzanne is personally involved in the Old Order community on a regular basis. She reports that there is virtually no illiteracy in the Amish community, despite the small parochial schools, limited teaching materials and teachers with eighth grade educations. (however, these dedicated women train with veteran teachers and continue their own educations despite the lack of college degrees) Most Amish develop a love of reading which continues to serve them throughout their lives. Without the distraction of video games, TV and the internet, they read non-fiction and fiction alike. A few even pick up Amish romances but most don’t find books about them that intriguing. Suzanne quoted John Hostetler in Amish Society(in part) “On several standardized tests, Amish children performed significantly higher in spelling, word usage, and arithmetic than a sample of pupils in rural public schools.” As Suzanne writes in the article, maybe that will encourage more parents to turn off the TV and read to their kids.
Yesterday’s trip to Savannah, GA was worth twice the price of gasoline. I found new favorites (Forsythe Park–how did I miss this treasure before??), visited almost every square designed by Oglethorpe who founded GA, and delighted in old favorites, the RiverWalk and Bonaventure Cemetery. While we were having lunch, this gigantic mega-ship, loaded to the gills with shipping containers, squeezed by on the river bound for the sea. Since I live close to Cleveland Ohio, I couldn’t help but draw a parallel to the Savannah River and our Cuyahoga River. I hope our Cleveland powers-that-be do as nice a job with our flats redevelopment that Savannah has done with their riverfront. What a people-friendly city Savannah is–utilized by locals and tourists alike.! Bravo, Savannah. I apologize for all the destruction wreaked by Ohioan W.T. Sherman during the Civil War. At least this jewel was saved for the world to enjoy for years to come. I hope you enjoy these photos, readers:
For those of you venturing out to the town centers, malls and discount stores I wish you the best of luck. Be careful out there–according to early news reports many folks will be fighting for bargains. Where your helmet and shoulder pads and remember to watch for flying projectiles.
I will be driving north to the historic city of Savannah, but not to shop. I will be walking the lanes and rows of Bonaventure Cemetery. Macabre you say? Not so much in the south. Here cemeteries are fascinating architectural dreams for history-lovers, besides being botantical gardens-of-Eden. The family mausoleums, the raised crypts, and the religious statuary surrounded by ancient iron fences covered with ivy attracts me like a moth to the proverbial flame. Throw in craggy live oaks dripping with Spanish moss and you have a writer’s atmospheric dream. Okay, I happen to write to Amish inspirational romances….but I can still appreciate the past can’t I?
Savannah also has gorgeous Squares, each a unique park with fountains and plenty of benches for thinking about the past…or that meal you ate yesterday. Of course, I’ll buy something. I intend to buy lunch! And maybe a souvenir or two…maybe a Christmas present for a loved one far away. But that’s it! I plan to make Black Friday about the past…not the present commercial world we live it. They’ll be time enough for that when I get back to Ohio. Be safe out there.
Greetings readers from the Golden Isles of Georgia!
It feels so strange to celebrate Thanksgiving far from home. We’re seeing palmetto and cypress trees, and live oaks shrouded with Spanish moss, instead of bare maples and black walnuts. Yesterday workers were stringing Christmas lights on palms trees. Do you know how odd that looks to someone who’s spent her whole life in northern Ohio? We’ve spent Thanksgivings in the past with parents, siblings, cousins and good friends along with their extended families. This year my husband and I will dine surrounded by strangers in the land of Georgia Bulldog fans. (luv that Uga!) On the beach this morning, we were the only ones wearing Ohio State sweatshirts. But it will be perfectly fine! Everyone is so friendly here that we already feel right at home. Southern hospitality is not a myth! Whoever said home is where the heart is wasn’t kidding. Ken and I will be together. And in our hearts we’ll have all the people we’ve spent Thanksgiving in the past, both living and dead. I hope I don’t sound too maudlin but I am so thankful for everyone–friends, family, and dear readers who’ve dropped me a line about one of my books. You have touched our lives–thank you! And I wish you all the happiest of Thanksgivings.
Now if I can interrupt this program for a commercial….my publisher, Harvest House, is offering two of my books on sale starting tomorrow. A Widow’s Hope and Sarah’s Christmas Miracle. From November 22-26 they will be at $2.99/each through ebook distributors—this includes Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Apple, and the Sony Reader from distributor websites (Amazon, CBD.com, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, etc.). A Widow’s Hopewas nominated for a Carol Award in 2010 and Sarah’s Christmas Miraclehas been my best-selling title to date.
So if you’ve missed these, now’s the chance to get them for your e-reader on sale. I believe CBD is also throwing in free shipping on some orders. In the meantime…have a lovely Thanksgiving and….don’t eat too much!
Happy Saturday, readers. Sorry this took so long to pick a winner of Murray’s book, but my to-do list escapes me whenever far from home! Thanks to Jorie for reminding me to pick a winner! We pulled a number out of a hat….and Cheryl Baranski was our winner of The Face of Heaven by Murray Pura. This is one lovely book about the Amish during the American Civil War. Cheryl, if you would contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org I will see that you get a copy of Murray’s book.
We are completing our second week on the barrier island of Jekyll Island GA. My dear husband is on vacation, but alas I must write here to meet my deadline for book 3 of the New Beginnings series, A Little Bit of Charm. It has been wild here lately. The surf is very high, as is the tide. The naturalist said these are the highest tides in the US. and this is the highest tide time of the year. The difference between high tide and low is a full 9 feet! For someone who lives closes to fresh-water Lake Erie, this is hard to contemplate until you see it for yourself.
I hope you enjoy these photos, and are happily preparing for a blessed Thanksgiving! Have a lovely weekend, readers. and Cheryl, sorry I took so long to honor my promise.
I hope those you of on the East Coast are safe, and not buried by too much snow. You’ve been hit with a double-dose of trouble and pray relief is on the way! Hubby demanded we sneak away for a short break while he’s in between construction projects. I hope you’ll enjoy these two photos of beach life. No, we can’t go swimming in the ocean. Too cold for that. But vacationing off-season brings the price within our range and makes for no crowds. Every cloud has a silver lining. And here’s a recipe from my last book, Living in Harmony. This would be super for a cold winter night. Take care, readers, wherever you are in the good, ole US of A.
SWEET AND SOUR RED CABBAGE–Old German Recipe by Rosanna Coblentz
¼ cup butter
4 med apples, peeled and sliced
½ red onion, chopped
1 head red cabbage, finely shredded
1 cup red wine (opt.)
4 whole cloves
1/3 c brown sugar
2 bay leaves
¼ cup vinegar
¼ cup butter
Juice of ½ lemon
Sliced or cubed cooked pork roast (opt.) Melt butter in 4 quart Dutch oven. Add apples and onion sauté slightly. Add cabbage, red wine, cloves, sugar and bay leaves. Simmer covered for about 1 hour, then add the remaining ingredients. Heat to melt the butter and serve immediately. Makes 6 servings. Note: For a hearty main dish, add sliced or cubed cooked pork roast, as much as desired, during the last hour.