It has been a hard year for all of us, and this holiday season will be like no other. Restrictions may mean fewer people at your Thanksgiving table, and fewer hugs all around, but this day can still be special. That’s because restrictions can only go so far. No one can restrict our ability to spread love, laughter, and kindness. No restriction can limit how much faith, hope, and gratitude fills our hearts. Nor can any restriction stop our ability to create new traditions and make new memories.
Thanks to the miracle of technology, restrictions also can’t keep us from reaching out to each other and, for that, I’m especially grateful. It allows me to tell you how much we fillies appreciate your staying with us during this difficult time. Your continued support has truly been a blessing. To show our gratitude, I’m giving away three ten-dollar Amazon gift cards today.
To enter the drawing, tell us how your Thanksgiving will be different this year? What new traditions do you have planned? What is your hope for the season?
Christmas stories on sale now for only 99 cents.
It was just his luck to run into a trigger-happy damsel
The Pilgrims are credited for starting the tradition of Thanksgiving in 1621, but how did it become a national holiday?
What follows is a quick timeline of the evolution of Thanksgiving from a tradition to being an official holiday celebrated on a specific date.
*November 23, 1775 – The Revolutionary War was seven months old, and patriots in Boston called for a “Day of Public Thanksgiving to be held in the colony of Massachusetts to celebrate their “Rights and Privileges” despite the attempts of their “barbarous Enemies” to deprive them of such.” It was a very anti-British celebration.
*December 18, 1777 – The war was still going strong, but to celebrate the victory of American Continental forces in the Battle of Saratoga, General George Washington called for Thursday, December 18 to be a day in which to engage in “Solemn Thanksgiving and Praise.” For the first time, all thirteen colonies participated.
*In 1879, President Washington called for a day of public thanksgiving and prayer. Congress agreed, but did not declare an official holiday.
Thomas Jefferson, our third president, believed that a Thanksgiving holiday was a violation of the separation of church and state, so there was no official day of thanksgiving between 1815 and 1863.
*In 1846 Sarah Josephina Hale, the editor of Gody’s Lady’s Book, began a 17-year letter writing campaign in support of an official national Thanksgiving holiday. In September of 1863, she wrote to Abraham Lincoln, imploring him to set an official day for thanksgiving.
*October 3, 1863 – President Lincoln, in a bid to heal a the nation during the Civil War, announced: ”I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States…to set apart and observe he last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”
Lincoln proclaimed that the official Thanksgiving day would be the last Thursday in November. Sarah Josephina Hale was 74 years old, but lived to see the official holiday she’d fought so hard for.
*In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt, by executive order, moved the holiday to the third Thursday in November, in order to allow more shopping days until Christmas. (Thanksgiving fell on November 30 that year.) The new holiday was called Franksgiving by those who were opposed. There was such an outcry that Congress officially moved Thanksgiving back to the fourth Thursday of November, where it remains today.
Please everyone, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!
Who doesn’t love a cowboy? Mix them with Christmas and you have some of the best books of the year! Not to mention events. Sadly with everything going on in the world, many events have been canceled. Such as the Cowboy Christmas retail event held in the Las Vegas Convention Center every year during the two-week National Finals Rodeo events. Sigh, I’ve always wanted to go. Maybe next year.
In the meantime, I’ll read some of the wonderful Christmas stories available and get lost in some stories. In fact, some folks love these stories so much they read them all year long! And why not? They’re fun, romantic, and full of cowboys!
What is the allure of the cowboy? I have a book releasing next week, A Cowboy for Christmas. There are times in the story where the heroine, Amy Jo, can’t take her eyes off the hero, Clay. When she asks herself why it’s because he’s a cowboy. You see she grew up with the same romanticized version of the cowboy that a lot of us did. We forget how hard it was and still is to be a cowboy. We may have modern conveniences like pick up trucks and modern machinery to make ranch life easier, but the fact remains, it can still be back-breaking work at times.
My sister knows a rancher in central Oregon. One of these days I’d like to spend time with this gentleman on his ranch and get a good idea of what “a day in the life of a modern cowboy” is like. That and I’ve always wanted to see his ranch. He does a mix of cattle and horses and at times comes to this side of the mountain to hold horse clinics that my sister attends. We also have bought beef from him. I call him Cowboy Ron.
So while I look forward to visiting Cowboy Ron’s ranch in the spring, I’ll continue to read one of my favorite combinations, cowboys, and Christmas. Because between snippets of reading amidst all the writing I do, it will take me until spring to get through my “to be read pile” I have!
For a free e-copy of my new book, A Cowboy for Christmas, what are some of your favorite books featuring Cowboys and Christmas? I’m sure there are a lot I haven’t got my hands on! I’ll pick a random winner from the comments below.
When we think of the western frontier, few of us picture a young woman seated at her desk, studying English grammar, yet many would argue that the West was shaped as much by education as by anything else. Thus, when I learned of the pioneering institution known at its inception as the Young Ladies’ Seminary in Benicia, California, I was immediately intrigued. Established in 1852, it was the first school of higher learning created for women west of the Rockies and continues today as Mills College.
Despite the word seminary in its name, the school’s purpose was not to prepare its pupils to be priests, ministers, or rabbis. It was established to fulfill the perceived educational needs of the daughters of California’s Protestant Christian families. The original trustees were concerned that the pioneering families of the West were forced to choose between forgoing a higher education for their daughters or sending them on a long ocean voyage to New York, potentially severing family ties.
Thus the school was established while the gold rush was still in full swing and Benicia was California’s capital. According to the school’s early catalogues, its aim was “to train healthy, companionable, self-reliant women—those prepared to be useful and acceptable in the school, in the family, and in society.” To that end, the teachers deemed it important for their students to “be able to spell correctly, to read naturally, to write legibly, and to converse intelligently.” The young ladies of the school performed regular recitations at which family and select members of the public were often invited to attend. In addition to an English course of study, the school offered what they called “ornamental branches” of study which included “instrumental music (pianoforte and guitar), drawing, crayoning, painting (in water colors and oils) and ornamental needle work.” (Keep, 1931)
Initially many of the school’s students came from the nearby cities such as San Francisco, Marysville, Sacramento, and Stockton, but most came from Mother Lode camps such as Hangtown, Park’s Bar, Rough and Ready, Angels Camp, and more. A few students also came from the southern part of the Golden State, which is where my heroine, Clarinda Humphrey, hails from in my novel, Sing in the Sunlight. Keeping in mind the incredible fluctuation of fortunes and social status going on in California during this time period, the idea of young women from such varied backgrounds coming to Benicia to learn and live beneath the same roof is fascinating. What I wouldn’t give to have been a fly on the wall of the Young Ladies’ Seminary in those early days.
I think I’d have planted myself on the shoulder of those early principals first, though. It seems they had a terrible habit of forgoing their duties to pedagogy in favor of matrimony. The romantic in me is incredibly curious about how those courtships began and progressed. Further adding to my curiosity surrounding the school’s romances is the manner in which the school’s students were required to attend church.
Escorted to church each Sunday by their principal, the students were required to sit at the rear of the church in the upper gallery near the organ so that they would be out of sight of the young men present. My guess, though, is that more than one man gained a crick in his neck during services. What do you think?
Source: Keep, R. (1931) Fourscore Years, A History of Mills College
I’m excited to share with you that Sing in the Sunlight, book two of my Chaparral Hearts series which features the Young Ladies’ Seminary, is currently on preorder.
So today, I’m giving away a signed copy of Waltz in the Wilderness, book one in the series. Leave a comment below to enter. (International Winners will receive a digital copy of the book & signed bookmark in place of printed book. Void where prohibited.)
How influential was your college experience, or lack of it, in creating who you are today?
In the last 18 months we’ve found out my husband has celiac disease. So NO GLUTEN. It’s been a shocking change in lifestyle. He’s been heroic about it. But then I think his belly hurt BAD.
So now we’re a gluten free household (Okay, I occasionally sneak a slice of bread)
And I am the official pie maker in my family.
Well, guess what I found out. The crust in pie (that gluteny little devil) is not an essential part of the pie!
So here is the pecan pie recipe I’ve used for years for my family and it is COMPLETELY UNCHANGED.
Except I poured it into a well-buttered baking dish (I chose a casserole dish rather than a pie pan) without any crust.
It was delicious.
We had no complaints and no problem devouring the whole thing.
Give it a try if you’re trying to be gluten free.
This is the easiest pie ever.
In mixing bowl combine:
2/3 C. sugar
½ t. salt
1/3 C. butter (melted)
1 C. corn syrup
Mix all ingredients together just until they are blended, add:
1 C. pecan pieces
mix slightly. Pour into unbaked crust. Cover pie with sheet of aluminum foil, just lay it over the top don’t crimp the edges. Bake at 350 for 40 or 50 minutes, uncovering for the last 10 or 15 minutes. Pie is done when knife comes out clean. I like to over bake it. The pie gets a carmelly…delicious texture that only comes with time.
The pie will have a beautiful domed shape when its done, then you’ll take it our and it will fall. That’s normal.
To bake this pie with the crust…add crust. 🙂 For best results, add the crust UNDER the filling.
I made a lemon meringue pie this way and a pumpkin. You won’t even miss that crust.