Monday, October 16, 2017

A Trip to Disney World Pt. 2

We spent Tuesday and Saturday at Hollywood Studios. Besides Magic Kingdom, which is the special one, Hollywood was/will be my favorite park. Right now, it's in transition from the behind-the-scenes park I loved to the going-to-be-blow-your-mind-awesome park it's going to be once they're done. Construction. 😜 But there's still awesome stuff at Hollywood even now.

Like Beauty and the Beast. It's definitely my favorite Disney World stage show, even though we didn't get the Gaston with the real muscles this trip...and the fact that it doesn't make a whole lot of sense when you haven't seen the movie yet. (2008 trip. That Disney vault!) "Through a series of strange circumstances, Belle ended up at the Beast's castle." Yeah. But it's beautiful, and makes me want to see the Broadway show. (2 times this trip.) I also enjoy the Little Mermaid show. While the movie annoys me--Ariel is pretty stupid and immature--I love the songs, which are the focus of the 17 min. stage version. (3 times this trip.) And then there's the Frozen show. Oh my goodness, it's hilarious. The newly appointed historians of Arendelle tell the story of Frozen and the audience gets to sing along to the songs. And the "historians" are so goofy and hilarious. Fun jokes for the grownups goofy and hilarious. Anna and Kristoff show up once each through the main part of the show ("Is that Justin Bieber?" "It's Crisco, and his reindeer Seven.") and then at the end, Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff come out and sing "Let It Go" and it snows soap bubbles. I feel like such a six-year-old girl when I go, but I love it. (2 times this trip.) And it sure beats Tower of Terror. The Indiana Jones show is still fun, and pretty much the same as it always has been. We can always pick out which "extra" is really a stunt man. I definitely enjoy it, though it could use a little updating. (2 times this trip.) There's also Muppet Vision 3D, which is the same as it's always been too, but I still enjoy it.

There are only two rides at Hollywood right now that I'll ride, since I won't do Tower of Terror or Rockin' Roller Coaster. My two rides are Toy Story Mania and Star Tours. Toy Story Mania is so awesome. It's a Toy Story themed 3D arcade game. We rode it six times this past trip and I got a new personal best of 199,000 points. Which is awesome because all but one game I beat my whole family, but not as awesome as I'd like because it doesn't come close to the all time Toy Story Mania high score of around 550,000. I can be a bit competitive when I want to be. But my high score is pretty respectable and I'm proud of it. Star Tours is a lot of fun. It's a 3D Star Wars flight simulator where you get to go to all sorts of Star Wars planets and keep the rebel spy out of the hands of the bad guys. I love it. And my sister was even the rebel spy once. (5 times this trip.) We even met Chewbacca and BB-8 over at the Launch Bay. I love how a lot of the Star Wars-related cast members have a Star Wars planet listed as their "hometown" on their name tags. 😆

Because of the threat of rain later in the week, we did Fantasmic on Tuesday. It's the best night show at Walt Disney World. So much fun, so many characters, so much imagination. It's seriously awesome. Except the crowd control. They need to create more exits. As it turned out, it was a good thing we did Fantasmic earlier in the week because it rained on Friday and Saturday. We're hard core Disney people. We just whip out our rain ponchos (which make us look like hunchbacks due to our backpacks), let our feet get soaked, and stick it out. I'm glad we did. Fantasmic got cancelled for the storm, but they still did the Star Wars projection show, and because most of the park was at Fantasmic when we got our spot (they all came in behind us) we got a spot right up at the ropes. It was really cool, and that, combined with all the other Star Wars stuff at Disney, has gotten me really hyped up for The Last Jedi. I'm just going to forget about the frog that hopped onto my back on the way back to our campsite that night. Yup, going to put that creepy incident out of my mind.

Friday was our only day at Animal Kingdom. It was an interesting day, to say the least. They've got two new Avatar themed rides which are super duper popular. Like, 4 hour wait times popular. Well, they broke. Both of them. Our only day at Animal Kingdom. And so everyone who would have been standing in line for hours in the Pandora area was spread out all over the park. We still managed to do Kilimanjaro Safaris twice, a safari ride with real animals...and not so real termite mounds. The driver the second time could have done Jungle Cruise. "A group of giraffes is called a tower. What do you call a group of scared giraffes? A Tower of Terror." The evolutionary story to Dinosaur drives me nuts, but the ride is still a lot of fun. We did It's Tough to Be a Bug, NOT my favorite 3D show (the special effects cause a good bit of screaming, but I know how to avoid them), but hey, it had air condition. Festival of the Lion King is pretty awesome. It's a live show with singers, dancers, acrobats dressed as monkeys, a guy who puts fire on his feet, and Lion King sing alongs.

Halfway through the day, Flight of Passage, the Avatar flying ride, opened up. The boat ride never did. Thankfully, they gave us "multiple experience fastpasses" to make up for having to miss our regular one, so we were able to get in the fastpass line. Now, I think the movie is creepy and weird, and the whole soul transfer thing is wrong, but that ride was AMAZING! It makes the amazing awesomeness that is Soarin' lame. I'm not even joking. It's a 3D flight simulator, but that doesn't even begin to describe it. You sit on this thing sort of like a bike, and it puts bars around you to keep you on. Then the screen opens up and you're swooping on a banshee through Pandora, diving between rocks, flying through waves and getting mist on your face, feeling the animal breathing under you, and unlike Soarin', there's no chance of having feet hanging in front of you. It was so amazing, I'd have gone on it again and again if the wait wasn't ridiculously, insanely long. But at least that ridiculously, insanely long wait cleared out the park.

And then it rained. They ended up cancelling Flights of Wonder, the bird show, because of the rain, but oh well. I'm sure it's the exact same show we've seen multiple times. We rode Kali River Rapids in the rain, because we were already wet, in spite of rain ponchos, so what does it matter? Pro tip: Never, ever, ever ride Kali River Rapids without a rain poncho unless you're willing to go back to wherever you're staying to change and throw your clothes in the dryer. They aren't kidding when they say "you will get wet, you may get soaked." Years ago, my mom ended up getting soaked (you never know which seat it will be because the raft is round), we hung her shorts over the bathtub later, and after several days, they STILL weren't dry. Wear a poncho. You may look like a dork getting on, but you'll look super smart getting off.

After dinner, my mom and youngest sister went back to the camper because my sister wasn't feeling well, but my dad, middle sister and I went really hard core and stayed, even though it POURED. We rode Dinosaur again, and then did Kali twice in a row without getting off. They'll let you if there's not really any line and you ask really nice. We could have stayed on longer, but we wanted to get a good seat for the new night show, Rivers of Light, and on a non-rainy day, you have to get in line as soon as they start letting people in. So we sloshed through puddles no longer caring that we were pretty much soaked and our shoes were totally waterlogged, and got in line. We talked to some cast members while we were waiting, and had a good time. And the guy who was there totally reminded us of Adam from Studio C. 

As it turned out, the rain had cleared out the park really well, so we didn't actually need to get in line that early, but oh well. We got great seats. It stopped raining shortly before the show started, so I was able to get a pretty good video on my phone. It was a pretty cool show, with fountains, and projections, and people on boats dancing to create shadows on the sails. And then on the way out, I narrowly escaped face-planting into some bushes while walking in the dark and checking the weather for the next day. I just didn't see that big rock. Luckily it was too dark to be obvious and everyone was looking at the Tree of Life. But man was my knee sore! That bruise was pretty significant.

Animal Kingdom was also the reason I read Replication by Jill Williamson on our trip. See, I'm the dork who brings a book into the park to read during long waits. I have on multiple occasions walked through various lines with my nose in a book, rather oblivious to my surroundings. It's the best way to wait. One year it was Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Another, it was Holes by Louis Sachar. I've had security guards at bag check ask me if my book was good. This year, I checked out a couple Margaret Peterson Haddix books to bring. I read Children of Refuge and Leaving Fishers earlier in the week, but because of Kali, I didn't think it was a good idea to bring in a library book. Still, I wanted a book, so I found a Ziploc bag and put the book I own, Replication, in it in my backpack. And that book is AMAZING. I started it at Animal Kingdom, read a little at Hollywood, a little at Magic, and finished it on the way home, even though I had to use the flashlight on my phone to do so. Seriously, if you haven't read it, do it. 

And that, in as much of a nutshell as I can make it, was my Disney trip. I got all sad when we were leaving, because I never know if I'll ever be able to go back, but I'll always have my memories.

Have you ever been to Disney World? What's your favorite part of it?

Monday, October 9, 2017

A Trip to Disney World Pt. 1

We went to Disney World!

Disney is THE best vacation place I've ever been to. Now, I do like it after Thanksgiving better than in September--it's much cooler and they've got all kinds of special Christmas stuff--but Disney is always awesome. (Though if you go in the middle of the summer when it's super hot and lines are looooooong, I'm sure it's not nearly as fun. But we don't go then.)

This trip was the first time in awhile we've stayed on property (the last two times my grandma let us use her timeshare points), and the first time ever we camped there. We stayed at Fort Wilderness, and let me tell you, people aren't kidding when they say Fort Wilderness has the nicest bathhouses you'll ever see. We got a nice convenient campsite across the street from the bathhouse and the bus stop.

We got up early and left home at quarter after 4 on Saturday, pulling into Disney midday. The first night we were there, we went to Disney Springs (which I still want to call Downtown Disney) for dinner at the Earl of Sandwich and dessert at Ghirardelli. And the Earl of Sandwich even gave my sister the right sandwich! Twice she's gotten the wrong one there. It was becoming a thing. We finished off the night watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the beach at Fort Wilderness.

The first and fifth days we spent at EPCOT. It's not my favorite park--my sister who wants to travel likes it better--but there are still many things about it that I love. Like Soarin'.
I was afraid when they redid it they'd ruin it, since I liked old Test Track better, but Soarin' over the world is AMAZING. The video was somewhat better done, since they knew better what they were doing. And instead of just seeing California, we got to fly over the Matterhorn, the Pyramids, Paris, Sydney Harbor, the Taj Mahal, and more, finishing off at EPCOT. They even used the same theme in the music, which made me super glad.

We rode Test Track single rider a couple times, and I don't know why anyone would do it standby. So you get separated. The wait is practically nothing. Though one time, a kid freaked out right before the ride and loading got backed up, so they just threw a bunch of single riders into a car, putting my family together. We did Mission Space Green, because Orange has too many warnings, and spinning. I'd love to feel what it's like to really go into space, but it's probably not worth feeling sick. Green is pretty fun, and we were the first to ride it our second day at EPCOT. Speaking of Future World, Crush likes riding the E-A-C, and the E-P-C-O-T. 😆 We met Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie at EPCOT. We didn't used to do much character greeting, but it's fun.

World Showcase is more of my sister's thing, but it's still cool. Like the Frozen ride. My sister isn't happy they turned Maelstrom (the Norway ride) into Frozen, but I really liked it. There's a reason I get along so well with six-year-old girls. We ate some food at the food and wine festival, which was interesting. They're small portions--to get you to eat at more places--but tasty. My mom and I had some French beef and mashed potatoes, the name of which I totally butchered, and some really tasty Canadian cheddar cheese soup. And my dad ate Chinese food and liked it! He's very picky, for those of you who might not know. The second day we were there, my dad brought us dessert while we were waiting for Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, the fireworks show. He came up telling me to grab my ice cream and start licking. Well, I didn't grab it fast enough and I didn't lick fast enough, and it ended up all over my hands, dribbling down my arm, and dripping onto the ground beside me. But it was tasty and I didn't get it on my backpack!

We spent 2 1/2 days at Magic Kingdom, days 2 and 4, and the first half of day 8 before we drove home. There's too much there for me to tell everything. It's a totally awesome park, and has so many rides. We did almost everything. We never do Mad Tea Party, though, because spinning. 😜

We started out in Fantasyland as always, because even big kids (or adults, I guess) like little kid rides. Pro tip: get on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train right at park opening and get a FastPass for Peter Pan's Flight. Seven Dwarfs is still popular--it's like a kids' version of Big Thunder, but Snow White themed--and for some reason, Peter Pan always backs up really bad. Mickey's Philhar Magic, a really awesome 3D show, is easy to get into, though. And the Little Mermaid ride is pretty easy to get on too.

Splash Mountain was closed (yay!...I can't stand the drops), but Big Thunder Mountain Railroad wasn't, so we were able to ride it several times. We even rode it in the dark once, which was cool. Hall of Presidents was also closed, but they were doing this Muppets show in the windows in the area, which was entertaining. Great Moments in History, but Just the American Parts. 😆 We rode the Haunted Mansion a few times...nice air condition. And it's really not scary. At least, I don't think so. The Country Bear Jamboree is also fun. And yes, I have a lot of it memorized. ♫There was blood on the saddle, and blood on the ground, and a great big puddle of blood on the ground.♫  ♫Mama, don't whup little Buford. I think you should shoot him instead.♫

In Adventureland, there's Pirates of the Caribbean. That ride is definitely one of my favorites. It's not weird like the movies, it feels more realistic, and it makes me want to write. I love it when things make me want to write. Twice, the splash from the cannon got me wet. And it was the last thing we rode before we came home. Then there's Jungle Cruise. Where you get to see the eighth wonder of the world: The Back Side of Water! Where you see the lions demonstrating the number one law of the jungle: Don't be a zebra. Where you see the second most feared animal in the jungle: the African bull elephant. And the first most feared animal in the jungle: his mother-in-law. You travel down the Nile, which goes on for niles and niles and niles and niles, and if you don't believe me, you're probably in... Africa. Pay attention. The jokes are corny, but it's fun. And we got the same skipper twice.

Then there's Tomorrowland. I love the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, and I've seen the show enough times to quote...most of the standard parts. "If I say 'you stink' to That Guy, it would be a compliment. 'You're welcome, sir!'" "Call me sentimental, but I still miss the screaming." It's interactive, though, which is fun. When they told the Monsters Inc. story, my dad was Randall. Which was funny. I also like Carousel of Progress, though it's not that popular, and Tomorrowland Indy Speedway is fun, even though it makes you feel like you can't drive. I'm no good at Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, but whatever. I am (relatively) good at Toy Story Mania, so it makes up for it. What I don't like is Space Mountain.

My mom and I went to meet Rapunzel while my dad and sisters went to Space Mountain. However, just as they were climbing the first hill, it stopped and the lights turned on. They ended up getting evacuated, but they weren't allowed to take pictures while walking out. I've always thought it would be cool to get evacuated from a ride. They were able to actually ride it later.

Two different days we were at Magic Kingdom, I wore a Loudermilk for Congress shirt, and got comments from random people throughout the park. My dad was wearing a Cubs shirt one of the days, which also generated comments, so we had a contest. I got 5 comments that day and he got 3. Then on our last day, wearing my other Loudermilk for Congress shirt, I got 2, bringing my total up to 7. Well, basically all of Metro Atlanta did seem to be there that week. Fall break and all.


They have a new fireworks show at Magic. It was pretty good, but I did miss Wishes. Maybe I'll get used to the new show in time. I was very glad they kept Tinker Bell flying out of the castle. She ziplines from a window at the top of the castle down to a building in Tomorrowland. That's got to be a fun job.

To be continued...because apparently I can't be brief when talking about Disney...

Monday, October 2, 2017

Meet the Penderwicks
When was the last time you read a new(er) book that felt like something pulled directly out of your childhood? How often do contemporary authors write books that sound like they're from the 50s or earlier? When was the last time you read a delightful family story that was idealistic, and yet real?

Enter the Penderwicks.

These books remind me so much of all the books I loved as a child. To me, they're most reminiscent of Elizabeth Enright and Eleanor Estes, and Jeffrey reminds me a bit of Jasper from Five Little Peppers, but that's not all. They're like E. Nesbit's Bastables, like many of Beverly Cleary's books, an updated Little Women, contain elements of Noel Streatfeild, just all the perfection of children's literature. Reading these books, I felt like a child again. Immersed in a beautiful family story, often loaded with literary references. Yes, I did kinda squeal when Emily of New Moon was mentioned. And then there was Marianne. 😆

Rosalind, Skye, Jane, Batty, they're all so unique. Rosalind is the oldest, usually the OAP (Oldest Available Penderwick, except in the third book where it's Skye), the one who fills in as mom since their mother died of cancer shortly after Batty's birth. She's responsible and reliable, but she does have her own difficulties to work through. Next is Skye, math obsessed, soccer obsessed, often blunt and insensitive. She'd far rather write an essay on antibiotics than a play about the Aztecs. And that's a long story. Then comes Jane, the dreamer, the writer, also a soccer player, though sometimes she embarrasses her sister by turning into her soccer playing alter ego Mick Hart during games. And of course there's Sabrina Starr, who rescues animals, a boy, an archaeologist, but I'm not sure Jane quite succeeded in having Sabrina Starr fall in love. Last is Batty, Hound in tow, butterfly wings on her back, close to Rosalind, eventually discovering hidden musical talent, thanks to Jeffrey Tifton.'s Jeffrey, musical genius whose domineering rich mother is determined he should go into the military like his grandfather. He also plays soccer and becomes Skye's best friend. There's Nick and Tommy Geiger across the street with Nick's sports drills and enlistment in the military, and Tommy's long-standing love for Rosalind. There's Latin-speaking professor Mr. Penderwick, who loves his daughters...but likes to reprimand in Latin. There's astrophysicist widow Ianthe next door, with her little boy Ben, a wonderful woman and a great mother. There's Aunt Claire, who pushes Mrs. Penderwick's dying wish that after four years Mr. Penderwick would start dating again. There's Ben who, when older, loves rocks and adores Nick. There's little princess-obsessed Lydia. There's domineering Mrs. Tifton who can be quite rude and is marrying the terrible Dexter Dupree. There's Rosalind's best friend Anna who gets involved in Rosalind's Save Daddy Plan, a move to prevent a stepmother. There's Alec, who has the most wonderful music room, and more to do with the story than you'd at first think.'s Sisters and Sacrifice, "Skye's" Aztec play. There's Quigley Woods, which doesn't actually have quicksand. There are MOPS (Meeting of Penderwick Sisters) and MOOPS (Meeting of Older Penderwick Sisters), and later MOOPSAB (Meeting of Older Penderwick Sisters and Ben) and MOBAB (Meeting of Batty and Ben). 

I read The Penderwicks late at night when I was having a rough time and it was balm to my soul. I listened to The Penderwicks on Gardam Street while sewing and it carried me through with its wonderful adventure of home. I read The Penderwicks at Point Mouette while I was sick, and it lifted my spirits. I read The Penderwicks in Spring in spurts at night while getting back into things with a runny nose, and "it moved me, Bob."

There will be a fifth book. Someday soon, I hope. The Penderwicks are a part of me now, just like all the other similar books I loved growing up. I'm anxious to see how things turn out, now that the older girls are grown. I love them all.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Vannie, Kyle, and Plantsing a Book

I had a general plan for the Espionage sequel. I had a few basic plot points I needed to hit, some snippets from throughout the book, and an ending. It was going to be a middle grade in the vein of the first book, about the same length, political, a story that was similar, but different.

And then the book said "Nope."

I'm still following the general storyline I originally had, but it had SOOOOO many gaps I had to fill in as I went along. But more than that. It just can't be the fun, middle grade book the first one was. It's its own book.

It's far more complex.

Via Pinterest

Espionage had a very basic, straightforward storyline. It was coherent in my head from the start. With this sequel (which still remains nameless, and I may not even go with a one-word "e" title), I've got plot threads everywhere. I've got Vannie's personal story of being forced into a marriage with Kermit when she's very much in love with Kyle. I've got the "action" side of the story where villagers are disappearing and the young people suspect Stipland's interim (Gordan Holbrook) is involved. I've got Flanna Leland whose father, fiance, and future father-in-law were all killed in a freak accident leaving Leland with no representation. There's Violet Wyland who was forced to marry the crooked Edward when she was in love with Esmond Fairfax. I've got a thread involving Edmund Herb which I haven't yet found the space to deal with but very much want to. I've also got an inkling that Holbrook may have been involved in Sir Stipland's death. That's something I didn't come up with until part way through writing.

Via Pinterest

I thought I could just write a simple book, but as I write, the complexity tries to force itself in. It's going to take another draft or more to let it, but if I don't--if I keep it to a 30,000 word middle grade like the first one--it'll fall so far short of its potential.

There are a lot more characters.

Walter Stipland
Via Pinterest

Espionage had a small cast, which was fabulous because it gave me a break from the Time Captives. The sequel simply can't. Kermit and Rosie are far more central to the plot than in the first book, and Walter Stipland and Callie Holbrook are pivotal characters, making up the main six with Kyle and Vannie. I haven't had room to deal with Kate--who now has a boyfriend whom Vannie rather resents. I want to delve into Flanna, but I haven't had room. I'd like to deal with Violet, but again, haven't had the room. Captain Herb figures in the story, and once I find the place, I want to explore his son Edmund. Sir Cumberland has a role to play that I don't want to stay "off screen."

Callie Holbrook
Via Pinterest

And I've come to the conclusion that using primarily Vannie POV with an occasional bit of Kyle just isn't enough. I'm not figuring out who Walter and Callie are very well without delving into their heads. Kermit's POV, I don't think should be relegated to bonus scenes. And there are too many important plot elements Vannie isn't privy to. I still hope to keep Vannie in 1st person, but as I write, I find I need a more comprehensive view of things to do this story justice.

The romance.

Via Pinterest

Vannie Cumberland is no Laura Ingalls Wilder. It is what it is. I had originally intended to keep the romance very Little House for the sake of keeping it a middle grade book. Very sweet and innocent and something you would have no qualms reading to a four-year-old. But...that's not working.

Via Pinterest

Fact is, Vannie is very much in love with Kyle Roland and he with her, and it's becoming more of a (clean) YA romance. Something a lot more along the lines of Ilyon, Rizkaland, and DragonKeeper than Little House. Considering Vannie's personality, it's just not realistic otherwise. I don't want it to feel like a stretch for Vannie and Kyle to be in love, because it's not. I have more trouble holding them back than making them act like they love each other.

I want this story brought to its full potential, which isn't easy when you're trying to make it something that it's not. But as I've plantsed my way through this book (something in between plotting and pantsing), I've discovered the sort of story it wants to be. And I may have to give up my original vision of what it was in order to make it what it needs to be.

How do you feel about the sequel to Espionage being more YA? What do you think of the different plot threads I've discovered?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Why I Like History

I'm sure if you've been around here for any length of time, you know that I'm rather a history nerd. Rather a major history nerd. So how did I get here?

My sister and me at Plum Creek
  • My parents read me the entire Little House series when I was really little and I absolutely fell in love with everything pioneer.
  • When I was five we took a road trip--tent camping--to visit all the Little House historic sites. I only remember the now-collapsed dugout, but I have a huge smile on my face in all the pictures.
  • We took numerous trips to Conner Prairie, the most amazing living history museum ever. It really feels like stepping back in time!
"Doing laundry" at Conner Prairie
  • Oregon Trail. Yes, the computer game. My sisters and I were obsessed. Wasn't everybody?
  • My honorary uncle told me and my family stories of American history all the time, in such a way that I was immersed in history and couldn't help but love it. He's a fabulous storyteller, and so is his daughter. You can read some of his stories in his book.
  • American Girl. I especially loved Samantha and Felicity. It's sad to me how the popularity of American Girl has shrunk...I blame the de-emphasis on history. That's what made it cool! History Mysteries and Dear America fit here too.
  • Yearly pictures in
    pioneer dresses
  • About a million amazing historical fiction/classic books I read and my mom read to me. Patricia Beatty, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Elsie Dinsmore, Old Yeller, Swiss Family Robinson, Five Little Peppers, All-of-a-Kind Family, Betsy-Tacy, Elizabeth George Speare, Johnny Tremain, William O. Steele, The Tree of Freedom, Nelly in the Wilderness, Calico Bush, Henry Ryder Haggard, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, etc. So many amazing books about or from bygone eras.
  • My family has visited many historical sites over the course of my life, local and along the east coast. We've been to tons of battlefields, and even went to Williamsburg and Jamestown. Going to Mount Vernon was the best. I can totally understand why George Washington was always wanting to go home. It's beautiful. And we learned some fun things that really made him human. Like when his dogs stole Martha's ham. George was amused. Martha wasn't. And I really want to go to Plymouth.
  • Plus, history is just plain cool.

And what effect has history had on me?

My Civil War era ball gown
  • I like wearing dresses--always have--because pioneers wore dresses.
  • I wore sunbonnets with modern dresses a lot as a kid.
  • Reading the Declaration of Independence is fun. I did it once instead of school. I love that thing.
  • I want to churn butter.
  • My sisters and I once played Oregon Trail with our Barbies.
  • We never just played "house," we were always pioneers or living during the Revolution or something.
The lady at the Indiana State Fair
invited me over the ropes to try
her spinning wheel
  • I have a life-long obsession with spinning and weaving.
  • I want chickens. (because Caroline Quiner aka Ma Ingalls took care of their chickens)
  • I want to try doing laundry in a washtub. But just once. For the pioneer experience.
  • I have made numerous historical costumes for myself and for others.
  • I helped to teach a class on America's founding documents.
  • If I ever found a time machine, I would have a long list of historical events to visit before I ever tried to go to the future.
  • I like throwing bits of history into my books.
My Barbies' covered wagon...Bekah
was the one who had actual horses
  •  I really want to write a historical fiction book. I'm just scared of getting it wrong and of the mountain of research I'd have to do to make sure I got every last little historical detail exactly right. From the timeline of historical events to the way people talked to the atmosphere and layout of the town to the people around to the details of fashion...
  • My dream house is a log cabin in the long as it has electricity, running water, and wifi.
  • I'm reading a book of original documents from the Constitutional Convention as a part of self-inflicted school. And it's amazing. I must read more source documents.
  • My family would love to open a living history museum.
  • I tried really hard to convince my dad to build me a floor loom. I did research and everything. It didn't work.

How do you feel about history?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Jefferson Lies Review

America, in so many ways, has forgotten. Its roots, its purpose, its identity―all have become shrouded behind a veil of political correctness bent on twisting the nation's founding, and its founders, to fit within a misshapen modern world.

The time has come to remember again.

In "The Jefferson Lies," prominent historian David Barton sets out to correct the distorted image of a once-beloved founding father, Thomas Jefferson. To do so, Barton tackles seven myths head-on, including:

Did Thomas Jefferson really have a child by his young slave girl, Sally Hemings? Did he write his own Bible, excluding the parts of Christianity with which he disagreed? Was he a racist who opposed civil rights and equality for black Americans? Did he, in his pursuit of separation of church and state, advocate the secularizing public life?

Through Jefferson's own words and the eyewitness testimony of contemporaries, Barton repaints a portrait of the man from Monticello as a visionary, an innovator, a man who revered Jesus, a classical Renaissance man―and a man whose pioneering stand for liberty and God-given inalienable rights fostered a better world for this nation and its posterity. For America, the time to remember these truths again is now.


Every American should read this book. Carefully researched and loaded with notes and citations so you can seek out the source documents for yourself, this is an excellent book debunking the lies so many people believe about Thomas Jefferson.

Did you know that most of what we believe about Jefferson these days comes from blatant lies fabricated by his enemies in the unbelievably nasty presidential campaign of 1800?

Did you know that the initial report "proving" that Sally Hemmings had children by Jefferson (a story with its roots in the aforementioned nasty campaign) was retracted just weeks later because it was false? Or that the line most strongly believed by oral tradition to be fathered by Jefferson has no Jefferson DNA whatsoever?

Did you know that there is no such thing as a "Jefferson Bible" and that the closest you can come to such a thing is essentially a Bible tract Jefferson wrote for the Indians and a topical compilation of Jesus' teachings for his own personal study?

Did you know that the phrase "a wall of separation between church and state," which does not come from the Constitution but from Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, was a commonly used phrase that meant the government could not interfere in the church, not that religious activity was to be excluded from the government? And that Jefferson had no say in the writing of the Constitution because he was in Europe at the time?

Did you know that Jefferson fought mightily for emancipation and only held slaves himself because he inherited them and Virginia law made it increasingly more impossible to free them?

Did you know that the university Jefferson founded was not secular, but, in fact, trans-denominational?

Did you know that the only clergy Jefferson despised were the ones who defamed his character from the pulpit and he had many friends who were clergymen?

Did you know that though later in life Jefferson subscribed to the teachings of the Primitivists that swept Charlottesville (a sect that, in trying to return to the fundamentals of Christianity, deemphasized anything other than the Gospels and rejected some orthodox Christian beliefs because the term used to describe such doctrines was not used in the Bible or because they hated John Calvin so much that any belief to which he subscribed was automatically false), he never once stopped considering himself a Christian who believed in a personal God?

Read this book. Destroy the revisionist history with the truth.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Never Forget

I was five years old. I was at the library with my mom and sisters when we heard. It was years before I truly understood what had happened that terrible day.

We must never forget.