Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Sam Davis State Historic Site

The drive south on I-65 from Nashville to The Giles County Historical Society in Pulaski, Tennessee has a charm all it's own--even in January; its rich, undulating barren acreage-keeping secret its fruitful future.

Bruce, my husband, and fellow adventurer, and I drove the leisurely hour and a half stretch of highway to see the Sam Davis State Historic Site Monument and learn more about the life of young patriot and Confederate hero, Sam Davis.

We were given a friendly, thorough tour of the historic city and spent the afternoon enjoying three memorials erected in honor of twenty-one-year-old Sam Davis, his life and times. We understand, now, why he chose to be hanged rather than reveal the name of his commanding officer to the "Federals."

In the words of Sam Davis:

If I had a thousand lives, I would give them all here before I would betray a friend or the confidence of my informer?

The town of Pulaski is a gem. The historic district is, indeed, a study in 19th century architecture.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Women Who Make A Difference Luncheon Kingsport, Tennessee

I so enjoyed speaking at the July 5th Greater Kingsport Tennessee Republican Women "Women Who Make A Difference" luncheon. Peggy Snapp. President of GKRW, presented me with a lovely certificate as we celebrated July 4th with my DAR award-winning song "Wives of the Signers" (of the Declaration of Independence) and toasted the steady hands and hearts of the women who helped birth our country. A typical July 4, 1776 luncheon was served along with Abigail and John Adams' favorite dessert, " Apple Pan Dowdy." Our friend, brilliant photographer, Jeffrey Stoner brought some of his unique images, and dear friend, Carol Heimbach was on hand for the celebration. Several candidates for the Tennessee senate attended. I'm casting my vote for Tony Shipley and his lovely, talented wife, Susan.

Monday, January 25, 2016

"The Story of Abigail Adams"

My first non-fiction children's story "The Story of Abigail Adams" will be published in February's edition of Focus on the Family's 'Clubhouse Magazine.' !!! Clubhouse Magazine is geared toward kids 8 -12 years old. "The Story of Abigail Adams" is based on my National Society Daughters of the American Revolution First Place Award-Winning Song, "Be Like Abigail (Ode To Abigail Smith Adams.)" Clubhouse Magazine, and Clubhouse Jr. Magazine are excellent publications for young minds. I'm honored to be able to contribute. Thank you, Eva Marie Everson! To God be the glory!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Rocky Mount State Historic Site

Last week, Bruce and I took a drive up to beautiful East Tennessee. Rocky Mount State Historic Site was built by William Cobb in 1772 and served as the territorial capitol of the S.W. Territory between 1790 and 1792. Cobb hosted First Governor of the S.W. Territory, William Blount here until Blount moved to Knoxville. Our re-enactor and Executive Director Gary Walrath, and his wife were very informative. We thoroughly enjoyed the journey along the trails of Tennessee. The small building is the kitchen, where a slave, Ruth, shared her skills and recipes. Loved it!
Slave Kitchen
Rocky Mount
Executive Director, Gary Walrath with re-enactors.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Fort Nashborough Luncheon ~ Wives of the Signers

On the beautiful campus of Vanderbilt University, in the University  Club where we meet monthly, my Fort Nashborough Chapter celebrated the last Daughters of the American Revolution luncheon of our season with an awards presentation. I believe Fort Nashborough received the most recognition for outstanding service of all the chapters in the state of Tennessee. We also welcomed several new Daughters including my friend, Kathy Saine, and her daughter, Katie, who is considered a new 'Junior.'

My song, "Wives of the Signers," a tribute to the wives of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, won 1st Place in state and nationally in the American Heritage Music Composition category - which I sang as a salute to the wives of the signers.

Wonderful Ebraile  and William Mwiserwa received our Community Service Award for their work with missions in Rwanda. Their heart wrenching, inspirational story of escape from Rwanda--but not without losing 70 members of their family--unfolded with not a dry eye in the house. 

Toasting God and the wives of the signers singing my award-winning song, Wives of the Signers

Bruce, me, our Fort Nashborough Regent, Ellen Jordan, Ebraile and William Mwiserwa
Bruce, Susan Winchester, Helen Mackie, Debbie Laidlaw, my friend and new Daughter, (on my right) Kathy Saine, and her daughter, Katie, and Jennifer Watts-Martin.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

On Writing Well

     Every so often the Lord speaks loudly to me in his still small voice. One ear is always tilted in his direction, but I'm generally preoccupied with the "here and now" rather than "hear, and then..."  As I continue writing, working on several projects -- while others wait in the wings -- the Lord whispers through a book I'm savoring: On Writing Well.

     My recent "find," On Writing Well, by William Zinsser is, of course, on writing well. Zinsser taught writing (non-fiction) at Yale back in the '70's.  I stumbled on one of his audio cassettes and after listening to it several times, bought his book. It's invaluable. Zinsser, in his 90th year, now blind, is still teaching, talking to students, and expounding on his theme:

4 Principles of Good Writing:
1.) Clarity
2.) Simplicity
3.) Brevity
4.) Humanity

One of Mr. Zinsser's favorite books is Walden;or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau.  I just  checked it out of the library. Having been a huge Ralph Waldo Emerson fan (did you know Walden's Pond was on Emerson's property in Concord Mass.? Neither did I.) I had resisted reading Thoreau because he seemed too 'wordy.'

While preparing snacks for watching the Superbowl, I stopped to look for something casual to wear. I couldn't find a thing! Bruce said, "Why don't you wear the tee-shirt you bought at Radnor Lake?" Great idea.  So, I pulled the Radnor tee out of my drawer,  and what do you suppose was written on the front below the Lake scene? A quote from Henry David Thoreau's book Walden....the same quote I just finished reading in his book...the one William Zinsser suggested as a study in On Writing Well.  "We need the tonic of wilderness, - to wade sometimes in marshes where the bittern and the meadow - hen lurk..." ~ Henry David Thoreau.

The Bible says "He who dwells in the secret place of the Lord Most High God abides in the shadow of the Almighty"(Psalm 91.) I need the spiritual tonic of the Most High God, and God's natural wilderness on which to feast my eyes and refresh my mind.  I'm inexpressibly relieved to know I have both along the trails of Tennessee and, through it all, still hear God whisper loudly and clearly telling me I'm on the right trail... a happy trail!

Now, back to those chicken wings :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

September is National Biscuit Month: Build A Better Biscuit!

       Yes, I know there are other, more pressing matters going on in this crazy, upside down world in which we live, BUT...I simply had to pause for the cause: September is National Biscuit Month, and have I got a biscuit for you!

Recently, advised by my doctor to lower my cholesterol, I began investigating biscuit making with Earth Balance, a vegan product with no cholesterol made with healthy ingredients. In fact, I made a Bagel, Lox, and Egg Strata last week-end with Earth Balance, Egg Beaters, and Almond Milk and it was just as fabulous as when using the artery clogging ingredients. We use it in our house now  (having made the switch from butter after receiving the cold hard facts from doc.) It's more expensive than butter, but I always say, "I'd rather pay the farmer than the doctor," if you know what I mean. Earth Balance is delicious and tastes like butter. We also switched from Half and Half to a coconut milk product. No more red meat, either. And I walk at least 1 mile a day. But, I digress.

For the sake of time, I admit, I adapted the below recipe from a baker who adapted it from Alton Brown. But as an accomplished biscuit maker...and eater, this recipe works. The lemon juice gives it that extra buttermilk 'tang' one expects from a biscuit. And feel free to slather this mini-work-of-art with Earth Balance. Scrumptious! And one more thing: set the dry ingredients mixed with "butter" to that coarse pea-like consistency back in the 'fridge' for about 15 minutes. This hardens the 'butter' which softened when manipulated into the flour mixture by hot hands.

So here it is. I will use Earth Balance forevermore, in all (most of :) my baked goods. I feel better physically and mentally knowing I'm helping myself stay healthy. Not "earth-shaking," but Earth Balance. Enjoy!

Beauties! So you know what to expect:
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 4 Tbsp non-dairy, unsalted butter (I use Earth Balance)
  • 1 cup unsweetened PLAIN almond milk + 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Add cold butter and use fingers or a pastry cutter to combine the two until only small pieces remain and it looks like sand. Work quickly so the butter doesn’t get too warm.
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and, using a wooden spoon, stir gently while pouring in the almond milk mixture 1/4 cup at a time. You may not need all of it. Stir until just slightly combined – it will be sticky.
  5. Turn onto a lightly floured surface, dust the top with a bit of flour and then very gently turn the dough over on itself 5-6 times – hardly kneading.
  6. Form into a 1-inch thick disc, handling as little as possible.
  7. Use a 1-inch thick dough cutter or a similar-shape object with sharp edges (such as a cocktail shaker) and push straight down through the dough, then slightly twist. Repeat and place biscuits on a baking sheet in two rows, making sure they just touch – this will help them rise uniformly. Gently reform the dough and cut out one or two more biscuits – you should have 7-8.
  8. Next brush the tops with a bit more of melted non-dairy butter and gently press a small divot in the center using two fingers. This will also help them rise evenly, so the middle won’t form a dome.
  9. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until fluffy and slightly golden brown. Serve immediately. Let remaining biscuits cool completely before storing them in an airtight container or bag.