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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thanksgiving in Early America

Most of you know by now that I was recently honored to read and review The Promise of Deer Run by Elaine Marie participate in a glorious giveaway by Kathy Carlton Willis     One of my readers who left a comment on one of the previous 3 posts about this book will be entered into the drawing of this fabulous prize.  Elaine has written the below article about the first Thanksgiving and, again, I am honored to share it with you!  Be richly blessed as I am in reading and learning!  Have a blessed Thanksgiving season!

Thanksgiving in Early America
by Elaine Marie Cooper

When we sit down at our Thanksgiving meal this month, we’ll be recreating a celebration that is as old as our country: sharing food with loved ones while thanking the God Who has provided the abundance.

While we understand that the First Thanksgiving was celebrated here by the Mayflower survivors along with the Indians that had helped them, the first official proclamation that was decreed to celebrate such a holiday was in 1777. It was a recommendation to the thirteen states by the Continental Congress to set aside December 18th that year as a “solemn thanksgiving” to celebrate the first major victory for the Continental troops in the American Revolution: the Battle of Saratoga.

The Battle of Saratoga has significant interest for my own family since one of my ancestors was a soldier there. But he was not on the American side—he was a British Redcoat. After surrendering to the Americans, he escaped the line of prisoners and somehow made his way to Massachusetts and into the life and heart of my fourth great-grandmother. *SIGH* L’amour!

This family story was the inspiration for my Deer Run Saga that begins in 1777 with The Road to Deer Run. There is an elaborate Thanksgiving meal scene in this novel as well as in the sequel, The Promise of Deer Run.

Some may wonder why such detail was afforded this holiday in my novels set in Massachusetts, while Christmas is barely mentioned. The reason is simple: Thanksgiving was the major holiday in the northern colonies, with Christmas considered nothing more special than a workday. According to Jack Larkin in his book, The Reshaping of Everyday Life, “The Puritan founders of New England and the Quaker settlers of Pennsylvania had deliberately abolished (holidays) as unscriptural.”

But Thanksgiving was begun as a way to give thanks to God for His provision. It usually began with attending church services in the morning, followed by an elaborate feast in the afternoon. The food for this meal was prepared for weeks in advance.

Since the individual state governors chose their own date to celebrate the holiday, it was theoretically possible for some family members—if they lived in close proximity—to celebrate multiple Thanksgiving meals with family and friends across state borders. The dates chosen could be anywhere from October to December, according to Dennis Picard, Director of the Storrowton Village Museum in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

Chicken was most commonly served, said Picard, as it was readily available in the barnyard. And the oldest woman in the home had the honor of slicing the fowl for dinner.

Pies were made well in advance of the holiday and stored and became frozen in dresser drawers in unheated rooms.

“I like the idea of pulling out a dresser drawer for, say, a clean pair of socks, and finding mince pies,” said Picard, tongue in cheek.


Have a BLESSED Thanksgiving!

Elaine Marie Cooper grew up in Massachusetts but now lives in the Midwest with her husband, her three dogs and one huge cat. She has two married sons and triplet grandchildren who are now one years old. The Promise of Deer Run is dedicated to the triplets and to veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.Elaine has been a magazine freelance writer for many years, and is a regular contributor to a blog on the Midwest called The Barn Door ( and a blog on Christian living called Reflections In Hindsight ( She is the author of The Road to Deer Run and the sequel, The Promise of Deer Run. Prior to becoming an author, Elaine worked as a registered nurse.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Almost a $300 giveaway of some Spode!

The past 2 days I have blogged about The Promise of Deer Run, a historical novel of the highest caliber!  The author, Elaine Marie Cooper, has a keen sense of writing to the senses and emotions.  I truly felt as though I was living in the plot itself, as a character IN the play, not a reader on the periphery.  This 2nd book of a trilogy appeals to audiences of all ages…and you don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate it!  I know that for sure, because I “aren’t” one (a history buff, that is)!!

Kathy Carlton Willis, host of this giveaway (and with an impressive site full of awesome services, I might add) has put together a basket with a retail value of $, and it includes some cool Spode stuff:
  • Basket
  • $25 Starbucks gift card  
  • Spode Christmas teapot  
  • Spode Christmas mugs   
  • Yankee candle
  • Hardbound copy The Road to Deer Run
  • Hardbound copy The Promise of Deer Run
  • Bath and Body Paris Amour scent 
All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post (and you may want to go back and leave a comment on the 2 previous days’ posts, as well) to be entered into a drawing I will do among all commenters.  I will draw one name and send it to Kathy Carlton Willis to be entered into this huge drawing. I’m convinced one of my readers will win this incredible gift basket. 
So please hurry along, leave me a comment, and, while you are at it, please let your friends and family know about this giveaway, as well, so each of them can be entered!  Meanwhile, make it a great day!

An Absolutely Charming Tale!
Once again, Elaine Marie Cooper pens an absolutely charming tale of eighteenth century Americana. War, no matter the era, takes its toll on both soldiers and families. The Promise of Deer Run is a precious next story following Mary and Daniel’s story in The Road to Deer Run, picking up with Mary’s sister, Sarah a few years down the line. Be sure to read the first book too! As a historian and author, I am grateful to Elaine for her dedication to authenticity.  —Lisa Lickel,  author of A Summer in Oakville

About The Promise of Deer Run:
America’s war for freedom from England has been over for seven years, but the wounds of that conflict still haunt the minds and hearts of the residents of Deer Run. Young American veteran Nathaniel Stearns has withdrawn to a life of isolation as he awaits his father who never returned from the war.

A near-tragedy in the woods brings Nathaniel face-to-face with nineteen-year-old Sarah Thomsen, someone he had long admired but he assumed had eyes for another. This chance encounter opens a crack into the door of his heart as mutual affection quickly blooms.

But slander and lies soon mar the budding romance, rendering both Sarah and Nathaniel wounded and untrusting as their faith in both their God and each other is shattered. Set in 1790, this book continues the story of the Thomsen and Lowe families as they struggle to survive in the aftermath of the war that birthed the United States.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Great book, con't. and Giveaway!

 Yesterday I told you about a fan-tabulous book I had just read and reviewed, The Promise of Deer Run, a historical novel!  IT is ab absolute MUST READ!  You will pick it up and not want to put it down.

Elaine Marie Cooper has done an outstanding job of developing the characters and plot so that my mind can picture it all.  It is like a movie playing in my head, and I don't want to leave until I find out the ending.  The clean sweet romance captured me and allowed my mind again to be a part of the plot! 

Below is a bit of information about the back story of this novel:

The Story Behind the Story:
How The Deer Run Saga Was Birthed
By Elaine Marie Cooper

When I was young and first heard that one of my grandfathers had been a Redcoat during the Revolutionary War, I was somewhat embarrassed. Growing up in Massachusetts had made me proud of our country’s heritage. But instead of finding zealous patriots in my bloodline, my DNA was from an enemy soldier named Daniel Prince!

Calmer reasoning prevailed, however, as I thought about the reality of his story. Living conditions in Colonial times were difficult, to say the least. It was a frightening period of our history for both Americans and the British. And in the midst of our nation struggling to be birthed, two people on opposing sides in a bloody war met and fell in love.

This story from my family’s history was transformed in my thinking into an inspiring one of romance, unhindered by the politics of the day. It became, purely and simply, a love story.

And so was birthed the idea to create a fictional account of actual events. Since the story is from my imagination, I opted to change last names, the names of the communities, and many other details of the time. However, many of the historical events are documented facts.

The particular information on Daniel Prince’s military background was discovered thanks to the diligent work of Betty Thomson, independent researcher at The National Archives, Kew, in England.

In book one, The Road to Deer Run and now in the sequel, The Promise of Deer Run, I made every effort to stay true to the colonial times. Descriptions of food, homes, clothing, farming, worship practices, medical care, etc. are the result of extensive research.

It has been a personally inspiring experience to write these novels. While the times have changed since the 18th century, the same struggles of their day are our own. Forgiveness, fear, pain, illness, despair, the pain of having a family member at war, the death of a loved one—these are all the battles we contend with in the 21st century. But we also share faith, laughter, love, the excitement of that first kiss, the wonder of looking at a newborn. These are the same joys that we share with our ancestors who are so much a part of who we are.

Their journeys are interwoven with our own.

And then i told you About the giveaway coming up in a couple of weeks, with the grand prize winner receiving:
                         Retail Value: $297.38

  • Basket
  • $25 Starbucks gift card  
  • Spode Christmas teapot  
  • Spode Christmas mugs   
  • Yankee candle
  • Hardbound copy The Road to Deer Run
  • Hardbound copy The Promise of Deer Run
  • Bath and Body Paris Amour scent
All you need to do to enter is to leave a comment on this blog.  On Nov. 18 I will choose one person's name to send to Kathy Carlton Willis, sponsor of this giveaway, to be entered into the grand prize drawing.

Sp, please  go ahead and leave a comment...then please refer your friends to this site to do the same!  I'm thinking just maybe one of you will win the grand prize!  Woot!  Woot!


Monday, November 7, 2011

A Must read and giveaway!

I was recently privileged to review the 2nd in a series by Elaine Marie Cooper called "The Deer Run Saga"...and you MUST get it!  I was so enamored by Cooper's writing style and captivated by the story line that I did not want to put the book down. 

Elaine Marie Cooper grew up in Massachusetts but now lives in the Midwest with her husband, her three dogs and one huge cat. She has two married sons and triplet grandchildren who are now one years old. The Promise of Deer Run is dedicated to the triplets and to veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Elaine has been a magazine freelance writer for many years, and is a regular contributor to a blog on the Midwest called The Barn Door  
and a blog on Christian living called Reflections In Hindsight She is the author of The Road to Deer Run and the sequel, The Promise of Deer Run. Prior to becoming an author, Elaine worked as a registered nurse.

The Road to Deer Run won the following honors:

Finalist: 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards
Honorable Mention: 2011 Los Angeles Book Festival
Best Romantic Moment:, February 2011

Tomorrow I will post my personal review of this book, and you will want to check back here for that!

What is most exciting is the huge giveaway that will occur on Nov. 21 and I am determined that one of my followers will win it! The Grand Prize is valued at $297.38!!!! It contains:

$25 Starbucks gift card
Spode Christmas teapot
Spode Christmas mugs
Yankee candle
Hardbound copy The Road to Deer Run
Hardbound copy The Promise of Deer Run
Bath and Body Paris Amour scent

So here's the deal! If you will leave a comment on my site each day for the next 3 days, then on the weekend prior to the drawing I will select one winner from the group to send in as a "finalist" and send it to Kathy Carlton Willis, hostess of this giveaway. The grand prize winner will be announced on Nov. 21, 2011.

So, whatcha waitin' for? Go ahead, please, and leave me a comment today...then come back tomorrow for more!

Meanwhile, enjoy this beautiful season of the year and be thankful!

Lolli (aka Lisa)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review of Lorilee Craker’s Money Secrets of the Amish Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing, and Saving

It seems the Amish have money smarts that the average person is lacking. From their simple, content and peaceful lives one can glean a plethora of ideas on becoming savers rather than spenders, frugal rather than spend thrifty, and givers rather than takers. From basic principles like: "use it up, wear it out, make do or do without" to "repurpose, recycle and reuse" to "rethink your gift giving" and "eat like a royalty for a peasant's pittance" money will seem to appear out of nowhere, while debt problems will vanish. The Amish appreciate the value of community, sharing the land, sharing the crops, sharing homes...even sharing joys and sorrows. They have determined that "stuff" can get in the way of productive living, and that frugality helps ensure financial security for the future. Craker gives some assignments for the reader to complete in an effort to retrain the brain to think smarter without working harder. This book is an easy read; and, though it could be read straight through, it is likely a book that will be referenced time and again. I think I just may become Amish...or at least I may try to live simply and frugally like the Amish!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Where in the world is Lolli-Syler?

Ever heard of the book “Where is Waldo”…or the show “Where in the World is Carmen San Diego”? That’s me in the blogosphere of late! Bottom line: I/we have been busy, busy, busy! Sometimes I don’t know if I am washing or hanging out! “It’s all good”…well, most of it. June was wrapped up in planning a wedding; July brought about the wedding, 2 birthdays; aweek long mission trip to the Dominican Republic; a 5 day trip to Orlando for a mini vaca school visit…AND…my son-in-love, married only 3 weeks at the time to my daughter, signed with the Cleveland Browns and left for training camp! His 2nd pre-season game is tonight against Detroit. We are cautiously excited! Last weekend I drove 9 hours + to Cleveland for his first game (which they won against last year’s Super Bowl winners, the Green Bay Packers!). Our granddaughter (who, along with her mom, dad and little sister, are currently living with us) started Kindergarten; my son starts school this coming Tuesday….and I am still working 28 hours a week, preparing to begin my ladies Tuesday Bible study group and my couples group every other Sunday…blah, blah, blah! Bored yet? Likely! Tired yet? Probably! I am, too, just writing it! LOL!

Also, truth be known, I have been in a quandary about my blog: if, why, what, and how to. After reading my sweet on friend, Lynette’s blog on this issue…AND…after reading Brent Riggs blog posts on how to create a better blog and attract readers, I’ve been a bit pensive…and prayerful…about whether or not this is a creative outlet the Lord desires me to pursue, or whether He has other plans. Initially I began blogging in a kaleidoscopic fashion: part journal, part inspirational, with every intention to include some creative ideas, etc. I had also planned to include a prayer request page for intercessory prayer. Good intentions…hhhmmmmm….lots of ideas, fleeting thoughts, passionate moments, poor writing attempts…and seemingly not enough time!

I have decided that, for the remainder of this year, I will not pressure myself to blog, or feel guilty if I go long periods and DON’T blog. However, if I have an epiphany or a special something to share, and make the time to write about it in blog form, I will. I hope you, as my readers, will continue to read~ perhaps even consider sharing my posts with others you think may be interested or touched by them. I will, meanwhile, continue to pray for the Lord’s direction for the upcoming year.

Now, today, I had just such an epiphany, which I share below. (I promise, in the future, to try to not be so wordy and lengthy!)

In watercolor class each of us has been weaving together 2 paintings previously done that “didn’t work” and making them into a woven collage that “does work”! I am not fond of abstracts but I have enjoyed this process. In my current project I wanted to include a few real feathers that I

would find. Don’t know why…just ‘cuz! The lady I care for has a plethora of beautiful birds including many blue jays. A few days ago I took a walk around her yard, praying all the while, “Lord, if you want me to use blue jay feathers in this painting, I trust

you will let me locate some. If not, that’s perfectly fine, too”. I looked and looked, to no avail…and just as I was ready to go inside, lo and behold, under a large tree were 2 small but beautiful, vividly colored blue jay feathers! Isn’t God good?!?!?! I asked and He gave! I have since been on a quest for more feathers and not once have I come back empty handed!

Today, as I was searching her yard again with my little granddaughter,I found a very small white and fluffy bird feather. I picked it up, whispering another “thank-you” to the Heavenly Father for His creation and His provision…and I remembered the Scripture that talks about the Lord caring for the birds of the air (and He does!) and how much more He cares for me and for you! (Matt. 6:26) Native American Indians consider feathers sacred. “Sacred” simply means “holy, blessed, consecrated, hallowed, revered, sanctified”.

Different color feathers represent different things for the Indians. For example:

“Blue feathers bring peace, protection and a sense of well-being. Blue jay feathers can also bring warnings of trouble ahead.

Black feathers are a symbol of mystical wisdom from spiritual initiation. They can also be a warning sign of ill health, death, or transition immediately ahead.

Brown feathers bring stability, dignity and respect.

Brown feathers with black stripes or bars symbolize balance between the physical and spiritual.

Green feathers are a symbol of renewal, new directions, and new growth.

Iridescent feathers (flashes of shiny colors) are a symbol of mystical insight, wholeness, and spiritual transcendence. Peacock feathers can also be a warning against false pride.

Red feathers bring vitality and health. Polynesian and South American tribes saw red feathers as symbols for the earth, blood, and femaleness. Royalty wore red feather headdresses and capers; coils of red feathers known as “red feather money,” were traded for various needs. The great Mayan “feathers serpent’ god, Quetzalcoatl, had the red beak of a bird as a mouth.

White feathers are a symbol of purification, love, innocence, and new life.

Yellow feathers symbolize cheerfulness, mental alertness, and prosperity, the sun and maleness”. (From Sacred Feathers by Meril Crabtree)

Are feathers sacred? They were created by the Creator of the Universe. Scripture speaks throughout the Bible of birds of the air. Jesus uses comparisons (like the one above) about caring for the birds of the air…and caring for us, whom He does refer to as “holy, consecrated, sanctified” (in other words, “sacred).

Then it hit me: a feather on the ground is simply a representation of a bird that has shed an old feather to make room for a new feather to grow. Baptism is a representation of one’s personal decision to invite Jesus into their heart as Lord and Savior; as Christians, we are representations of Jesus Christ; our hearts are the representation of the dwelling place of Christ. The Bible is full of signs, symbols, types and shadows, representations of the love, the power, the majesty and glory, the grace of God the Father, Creator of the Universe, Lover of souls, the Redeemer of man. So, while the bird itself is not sacred, its fallen feathers remind me of beauty and of the old being shed so the new can come forth.

Is it not like that with us as believers?

When we make the deliberate choice to follow Jesus as Lord and Savior, we are trading in our “old body” (i.e. the old self) for our “new body” (our new self in Christ~ the likeness of Him)! I can only hope and pray that some small portion of who I am will represent Jesus to those around me and that, like feathers remind me of the beauty of Gods world, my life will be a reflection of

His glory and beauty.

That’s all! ;-)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Where I've been and why...and other stuff!

So, it's been over 6 weeks since I blogged. Why, you ask? See for yourself!

And then...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Review of A Conversation with God by Alton Gansky

"Conversations” ~ also called chats, talks, discussions, dialogues, and banters in the English Thesaurus. That implies two or more people sharing ideas or information, opinions and feelings…but how can that happen with a God who cannot tangibly be seen, touched, heard, tasted or smelled? Quite easily, actually! Through the written Scripture, by promptings in our spirit during prayer and at times through a spoken word by a friend or mentor God speaks His will. Alton Gansky has done an implausible work in his book A Conversation With God in bringing answers to some of life’s mysteries and questions, by helping the reader more intimately relate to the heart of the God of the Universe. Gansky’s writing style is simplistic, yet profound.

In this rich volume of common but difficult questions are reliable answers, complete with Scripture references provided for the reader to delve further into discovering answers. Questions covered include, but are not limited to:

v God, who are You? “I am a Being with intellect, which means I think. I’m not a distant, invisible, force. I am someone who reasons and communicates. In other words, I have thoughts. You are the direct result of those thoughts” (p. 18).

v God, who are we to You?

v How do we know the Bible is accurate?

v Are we living in the end times now?

v How should we prepare for the end of the world? “Let’s be clear. There is nothing you can do to push up or delay the events of the end times, but there are things you should be doing. One thing we haven’t discussed is the need for you to be vigilant…” (p. 83).

v God, why do You allow natural calamities to kill so many people? “Death is common, but it is not natural for humans. I did not design Adam and Even to die. Death came to humanity through sin, not through intention…You do not see all history and the future as I do. You do not see what happens to those souls. I deal with eternity, and My perspective is unlimited” (p. 92).

v Why are some people rich and other poor?

v Just what is salvation?

v Can I lose my salvation?

v What is the kingdom of God?

v Jesus, are You the only way to heaven?

v What will happen to people who don’t believe? “Everyone will be resurrected…those who have rejected Jesus are resurrected to judgment. In the New Testament, the term judge means ‘to separate one thing from another.’…There are several judgments…At the judgment, no one will be asked why he sinned, only why he didn’t repent” (pp. 174-175).

v Is Satan for real?

v How can we experience peace?

v God, do You love or hate homosexuals? “I do not hate homosexuals. I do hate sin, all sin. Here is where the contemporary problem e exists. Many have responded to homosexuals with hatred. That includes some in the church. Hatred is not an option….I am not saying I approve of homosexual behavior. I’ve made it clear in the Bible that I don’t, but I don’t single out the homosexual for greater punishment than the heterosexual fornicator or adulterer” (pp. 258-259).

While this is a collection of answers, it is also an intimate portrayal of God’s love for His children…a love that knows no boundaries, an unconditional love, a forgiving love, a love offered to any who would receive Him as Lord and Savior…a passionate love for “red and yellow, black and white…all are precious in His sight!” I recommend you read this book for your own spiritual experience AND I encourage you to pay it forward and share it with others whether seasoned believers, new Christians or those still undecided about Christianity!

Disclosure for Thomas nelson book reviews
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from
Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review
bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review.
The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in
accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 :
“Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”