Thursday, October 1, 2015

Book Tour October 5-13th - see you there!


I'm preparing to head out for a series of book signings and speaking events.  Most will be in Minnesota, with one in Grand Forks, ND.  Here is a complete list of dates and times.

    11:00 AM
    Ferguson Books & More
    1720 S Washington
    Grand Forks, ND 58201
    (701) 738-5465

    6:00 PM
    Godel Memorial Library
    314 Johnson Ave
    Warren, MN 56762
    (218) 745-5465

    6:00 PM
    Warroad Public Library
    202 N Main Ave
    Warroad, MN 56763
    (218) 386-1283

    6:00 PM
    Civic Center
    121 Center St E #202
    Roseau, MN 56751
    (218) 463-2825

    6:00 PM
    Hallock City Hall
    163 Third Street
    Hallock, MN 56728
    (218) 843-2401

    2:00 PM
    Greenbush Community Center
    244 Main Street N
    Greenbush, MN 56726
    (218) 782-2218

    11:00 AM
    Thief River Falls Public Library
    102 1st Street E
    Thief River Falls, MN 56701
    (218) 681-4325

    2:00 PM
    Red Lake Falls Public Library
    105 Champagne Ave SW
    Red Lake Falls, MN 56750
    (218) 253-2992

    7:00-8:00 PM
    Burnsville LifeWay
    Cobblestone Court
    14150 Nicollet Ave S
    Burnsville, MN 55337
    (952) 435-8600

    10:30 AM
    North Mankato Taylor Library
    1001 Belgrade Ave
    North Mankato, MN 56003
    (507) 345-5120

    1:00 PM
    Martin County Library
    110 N Park St
    Fairmont, MN 56031
    (507) 238-4207

    7:00 PM
    Watonwan County Library
    125 5th St. S.
    St. James, MN 56081
Hope I get to see you there.
Soli Deo Gloria!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Changes in the Seasons and New Books

Fall has come to Montana.  The mountains have received their first good dousing of snow and now as the temperatures get colder the snow capping will remain until next summer.

I love Montana and the colder weather.  I've never done well in the heat and since learning about having MS - it's really no wonder. My body just doesn't regulate the temperature in my body properly, so warm weather, stuffy Walmarts, and hot, humid climates just don't agree with me.  I thank God for such a wonderful place to live.

The Brides of Seattle series is completed and all 3 books have been published and made available to the public.   This was such a fun series for me to write and I hate to let go of the characters. According to some of the emails I've received, there are a great many readers out there who are also having trouble letting go.  Who knows - maybe somewhere down the road we'll revisit those wonderful folks.

The Brides of Seattle series deals with the time period when almost all of Seattle's downtown was burned to the ground.  Here are some photos that I found from that time period prior to the fire  

Newspaper account of the fire

I think most amazing of all is that within a year, Seattle had remade itself.  There was still work to be done, but so much had been accomplished in a very short time.  Just goes to show what folks with that go-to spirit can accomplish.

I hope you get a chance to read the series, and if you do - drop me a note here and let me know what you enjoyed or didn't enjoy about the series.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ode to Joy

Just got back from hearing the Bozeman Symphony perform Ode to Joy - Beethoven's 9th.  Amazing is the only word that comes to mind.

Bozeman definitely has its share of talented people and the orchestra that perform is no exception.  I've always been a great fan of Beethoven's 9th anyway and this was such a neat way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

What's even more remarkable is the fact that Beethoven wrote this when he was almost completely deaf.  When it was first performed in Vienna in 1824 Beethoven had to be turned around at the end to see the applause and joy he'd given the audience.  This is a photo of one page of the original manuscript.

I grew up singing Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee to the tune of Ode to Joy.  I've always loved the words Henry Van Dyke wrote in 1907 to be sung to Ode to Joy. It starts out:

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!

What a day of praise!  I feel completely re-energized for the week to come.

I'll leave you with this wonderful flash mob video.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Joshua Bell and my trip to Colorado

For those of you who have never heard the name Joshua Bell, I have to enlighten you.

 Joshua Bell is an amazing violinist and I had the great opportunity to hear him play in Ft. Collins, CO last week. I was not disappointed.  Mr. Bell is considered a "classical music superstar."  He was recently named the Music Director of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and has earned numerous awards and debuted when he was just 14.

 Here's a little example of his amazing artistry on the violin - which by the way is a 1713 Huberman Stradivarius.


I heard about Joshua Bell about 20 years ago and since then have wanted very much to see him in concert, but he was never in a place close enough for me to drop what I was doing and go.

This time he was and my friend and I were able to heard him play. Here we are dressed up for the occasion.  Okay - we were really just playing around in a thrift store.

 I wish everyone could attend one of his concerts as the man is pure poetry in motion.

Now I have to also give high praise for the pianist who accompanied Mr. Bell. Sam Haywood is a British pianist who has won many of his own accolades.

One of the most amazing things I read about him was that to celebrate Chopin's bicentennial year, he made the world premiere recording on Chopin's own Pleyel piano which is part of the Cobbe Collection at Hatchlands.

 It was amazing the way these two performed together and it brought tears to my eyes and all I could do was praise God was giving such talent. Thankfully I have a few CDs and continue to enjoy the music now that I'm back home. But, there was nothing quite so grand as hearing him play in person. Yes, that was a heavy sigh you just heard from a very contented heart.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Blue Jeans Friday

I don't know about you, but I love blue jeans.  This was probably born out of my being a teenager in the 70's when jeans were the standard of living for most of us teens.

But, since I write historical novels, I thought it would be fun to share some of the history of blue jeans on this Friday - which for many offices is a casual dress day.

Levi Strauss is credited with the actual creation of what would become blue jeans.

His creation started in 1853 and by the 1870's Levi's were common fashion for men.

So why were jeans created? Strauss saw men, particular hardworking miners who were in need of heavy-duty work pants, Strauss took brown canvas tent material to make the first pairs of what he called "waist overalls".  These were simple pants without belt loops or pockets.  So how did the men keep them up?  There was a cinch strap in the back.

Here are a couple of fellows sporting their jeans.

Using duck canvas material was gradually shifted to denim.  Denim got its name from the French region where it was created - Nimes, France.  Serge de' Nimes was a heavy twill cloth that Strauss dyed indigo for his workpants.  Some sources say that calling this material "denim" goes all the way back to 1577.

Keep in mind also, that long before this, Genoa, Italy had sailors who wore blue pants and the French called these, "bleu de' Genes" with Genes being a version of Genoa.

Another interesting side note is that in the British colony of India there were similar pants called dungarees. These were a casual pants made from a heavy cloth the Hindi's called dungri.  It was used for sales and tents, but when transformed into pants, it was often blue in color.

So while some called them denims, dungarees and bleu de' Genes, most sources say that the term of jeans in America wasn't really coined until about 1901.  Other sources even stretch that to say that blue jeans is a term that was born out of the 1950's.  No matter, they were popular pants that served workmen well.

Levi Strauss is definitely created with birthing this new fashion in America.  As the father of "Levi's" this Bavarian immigrant continues to be highly regarded for his ingenious creation.  For years he sold these pants in brown duck canvas or denim and after a time came to realize that the denim was far more popular.

Denim changed with age, making it softer and more conformed to the frame of the wearer and thus became the preferred material.  As for the color, indigo was one of those dyes that was good for hiding stains and dirt.  However, it was also a dye that didn't permeate the threads of the fabric like other dyes, so in time molecules chipped away and the jeans faded with use.

It's estimated today that over 450 million - yes million -  pairs of jeans are sold each and every year and the average American owns seven pairs in a variety of styles and colors.

Prices range all over the board with designer jeans going for as much as $1.3 million due to having diamonds sewn onto them for decoration.

This page of antique Levi's sold for $60,000.00

Maybe the most amazing thing is that Levi Strauss created a fashion that has lasted over 150 years and has no indication of ending any time soon.  Now, if you'll excuse me - I'm off to go count my jeans and see if I really have 7 pairs.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Contagiousness of Complaining

Years ago I worked in an office with a lot of other women.  In fact, I worked in several such offices and one thing was always common.  If one woman started complaining about something—everyone else joined in with their complaints.  It was as if the very act of complaining was contagious.

Many was the time I would go to work feeling quite content with the world and all that was in it.  I would go to work determined to be a positive influence and show a contented spirit.  Then break time would roll around and I would share the company of other people and when the complaining started, my positive spirit took damage.  Before I knew it, I was focusing on the negative things of life – the hopeless things I could do nothing about – the terrible and heartbreaking things that threatened all happiness and peace of mind.
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn't perfect by any means.  Often, I was the one complaining first.  Often I didn't go to work with a positive attitude or a loving heart.  The same was true for my attitude and spirit at home.  It only took a little of the poison produced by complaining to spread the disease throughout my family.
One person can wield a lot of power and never even know it.  They can set the stage—the atmosphere for their surroundings with the simplest of negative comments and before you realize it, the entire household or office has caught the contagiousness of complaining and you have an epidemic on your hands.

In Exodus you can read about the Israelites being freed from Egyptian slavery.  God did miraculous things in order to get them released from Pharaoh’s control.  He sent incredible plagues yet protected them from the results and parted the Red Sea for them to pass safely.  Yet in spite of this, just days out of Egypt they started complaining. And that complaining spread quickly to make a most unhappy whiny bunch of folks.  They complained about food, water, housing, health, their surroundings and the list goes on and on.  I like to think I would have been one who wouldn't have complained…but I know better.  I would no doubt have been right there with the loudest – voicing my opinion.
One of the worst places I've seen for complaining—a place where it spreads terrible damage—is in the church.  
 The people attending complain about the sermon or the color of the carpet or the fact that pews have been replaced with chairs.  They complain about the lack of classes and community outreach or they complain because there are too many classes and too much focus on outreach. They complain about the music and the translation of the Bible that the pastor uses. The pastor and teachers aren’t immune to this disease either. They complain about the people and their lack of understanding or interest.  They complain about the size of the congregation, the small amount in the offering plate, the size of the building, and the list goes on and on.  Sometimes they complain about the complaining.
The one place where complaining should be absent is the very place where it breeds the most contempt.  And why is that?  Because that’s the very place Satan wants to corrupt.  God’s people, gathering to worship and honor God, and draw closer to Him in praise and prayer. Satan hates it when we do that and longs to tear us apart and destroy that fellowship.  And with complaining—he does just that.
Having caught this sickness more than once, I can say without any doubt that there is only one cure and that is a heart transplant.  We need God to put into us a new heart—a heart that is focused on Him—a heart that seeks to separate us from the world and all its negativity.  Complaining is a part of this life, just like other disease and sickness, but just as we take precautions to avoid other sickness—we need to take precautions against complaining.  So I thought I would share with you, just a few ideas for avoiding this contagion.  

       Avoid contact with the sick.  If you must deal with the sick as we all inevitably must, take precautions.  Cover your ears to shut out those ugly comments. Cover your mouth to keep from absorbing the disease and sharing it with others.  Cover your heart in God’s Word.

      Take in plenty of nutrients to ward off this sickness.  Spend quality time drinking heavily of God’s Word.  Inhale and exhale the praises and wonders of all God has done.  Get plenty of rest in the Lord.  Exercise the fruit of the Spirit.  

      Be aware of your spiritual condition.  If you feel yourself coming down with a complaint, seek immediate help from the Physician.  Confess your ailment and wash your spirit regularly.  Eliminate all pollutants that lend themselves to feeding the sickness.  Set yourself apart.

We have to live in this world where disease runs rampant and complaining isn't the only sickness we should take a stand against.  So the final word of encouragement is…educate yourself.  Educate yourself about the various diseases that can damage, even kill the spirit.  Know what negative influences are out there seeking to destroy you.  You can’t avoid what you don’t know exists.  But once you do understand the dangers then fight against them. 

Remember, your “spiritual” health is at risk, as well as those who are around you, and “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Newer Posts Older Posts Home
Meet Tracie
Writing Tips