A Woman's Place Pt. 3 | My Place

July 28, 2015

I think my favorite reply I've heard thru my unofficial Facebook survey to the question,
"A woman's place is" has been this from a best friend:

A woman's place is...equal to man, and beloved by God.
And of course ready to share The Scandalous Gospel Message of Love Incarnate with the entire world in which she inhabits.
--Sarah Fisher--

This. Right there, is where I pray God to be found.

A Woman's Place Pt. 2 | We Can Do It!

July 23, 2015

WWII pulled America out of it's economic depression even before Pearl Harbor. With the USA's entrance into WWII post-December 7th, 1941--the day that will live in infamy--massive conscription followed. Bodies were needed to fill the spaces left by men who enlisted in factories, shipyards and more.
The women stepped up.
They worked hard. Learned new skills.
Worked long hours only to come home to stay up late writing back their men in the army, tucking in their children and cleaning their house.
WWII only further stretched women out of their comfort zones in and out of their homes.
During the Great Depression, women had to make do or do without for even the most simple neccessities. With the family breadwinner either in the breadlines or in a government program that helped somewhat, women often had to fulfill the role of both father and mother to their children, daughters learned quickly to pull together, forget selves, and pitch in for the survival of the family.
Not one woman in the Great Depression or WWII was exempt from stepping up and not only saying "We can do it and we will do it," but "We are doing it."

My two awesome sisters in front of the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh
These women stepped up, got the job done outside the home--and for much less than men had made. You'd think everyone would be nothing but grateful to these women who filled the spots left by men who had enlisted, but unfortunately women met much opposition in the workforce due to gender stereotypes of women being the weaker, simple-minded sex which is simply not true. Physically speaking, men and women are different.
But strength of spirit, heart, of mind?
Rosie the Riveter represented more than a portion of the working-woman in WWII. She represented resilience, bravery and hard work, from the offices and hospitals and schoolrooms to the factories and shipyards. And I love that we can look back on her, the stories of both the triumphs and hardships women had to face and see how far we've come, and be inspired to keep the faith, stay strong, and show the world what we're made of.

A Woman's Place | Part One: the Union Woman

July 17, 2015

It might come as a shock to some, but when asked how I would complete the phrase, "A woman's place..." I would not complete it with, "in the home."
I took an unofficial survey of how others would complete the antiquated phrase. One of my favorites was:
A woman's place is...everywhere, history and the present.
And that hits the nail on the proverbial head as to why I'm writing this blog post trilogy of sorts.
**Before continuing, read friendly disclaimer below**
I am not here to debate, rant or say anything negative on this fairly broad subject that yes, involves feminism. The definition of the word is, "The advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social and economic equality to men." Many have skewed the word, as all humans are wont to do. And also unfortunately many, just like during all of history, still do not see women as equal to men. We live in a sinful world with sinful people in and outside of the church. Men and women are different, unique, and equal. One is not greater or lesser than the other. Hence why I'm writing these posts. The women who got the job done during the Civil War and WWII are equally worthy of honor and recognition as men who served in the military. 

If there was one photo to sum up why I write stories of Northern women during the Civil War, this would be it. 

The lady immortalized in stone is heavy with child. You'll notice a shovel at her side, and she wipes her brow of perspiration. This Angel of Gettysburg was bone-wearied exhausted from digging one hundred and four graves on her own from July 3rd through mid-August 1863.
Meet Elizabeth Thorn, mother to three sons and at the time of the Battle of Gettysburg, six months pregnant with her fourth child. Her husband is off at war, and when the war arrives on her doorstep, she does what needs done and lays to rest over a hundred fallen soldiers.
Often called the Angel of Gettysburg, Elizabeth's maternal instinct was most likely at war within her heart. Having three young children of her own, pregnant with another, surely she must have fought the urge to flee from her home in order to best protect her children. But at the same time, beyond the fallen men in need of burial, she had to decide to stay home, defend her home and husband's cemetery, now called Evergreen Cemetery.
Before the war, this inspiring woman's place was in the home. Raising up children, caring for a husband and home. Truly noble tasks. These duties never stopped for her during the war. If anything she had to shoulder much of what her husband took care of, on top of her own responsibilities.
Her place, her energy, her sweat and tears--her sacrificial and hardworking spirit--were called upon to bury other mothers' sons, other women's husbands after the turning point battle of the Civil War.
A war men started. To the chagrin and grief of many a woman.
But they all carried on and did what needed done...on the farmlands of central Pennsylvania, and at the Gateway to the West in my home city of Pittsburgh. 

Pittsburgh was called the Arsenal of the Union due to it's many arsenals, factories and the advantage of three rivers and countless railroads to ship things to the front. Think for a moment about who made the very bullets and cartridges to aid the whole of the Union army. Yes, there were men who unfortunately worked in leadership positions that did not take care of working environments or equal pay for equal work for the countless women and young pre-teen and teenage girls who worked their fingers to the bone. All of these women were poor and needed the money. The Army often sent out their soldiers paychecks to their families quite belatedly, making it further difficult for the women at home to keep body and soul together. 

One event woefully buried beneath the bloodbath of the Battle of Antietam that occurred the same day is the explosion of the Allegheny Arsenal. It's still somewhat a mystery of what caused a spark to spread a fire and cause explosions through the arsenal grounds in Lawrenceville. Around two in the afternoon, the first of three explosions occurred. These explosions shattered glass in windows over two miles away in Pittsburgh. The second and third explosions occurred in close succession, causing the majority of the facility to be reduced to rubble. Seventy-eight workers, almost all women, were killed. Out of these fifty-four were unidentified and buried in a mass grave.

Going into work at an arsenal, these women and girls had to know there would be a slight risk. But women such as these who worked in this arsenal truly gave the last measure of devotion. For their country? Yes. But also for fierce love and sacrifice for their families. They did what needed done. For their own survival, and to help the men at the front. Many of these women were most likely mocked and ridiculed and verbally abused as to doing what was considered a man's job. But their strength kept them working hard in the arsenal, and at home to keep body and soul together with meals, laundry, and their modest homes.

I don't know about you, but these stories inspire me. Not to mention the women who stood up and did something about the disease and unsanitary conditions field hospitals and Army hospitals were in prior to 1862. It took quite a fight--one you can read about in Jocelyn Green's novel, Wedded to War, but when the Sanitary Commission got off the ground, it made a world of difference. Saving lives and making huge strides in medicine and health at the same time!
While widely taken advantage of, unjust pay for the same work--all of these women deserve to be honored and remembered not merely for their patriotism, but for their work ethic, sacrifice and strength. These qualities should be remembered when we think of what a woman's place was during the Civil War.

To the loyal women
Who through four years of war, endured suffering and bereavement.
This tablet is dedicated in grateful recognition of their patriotism
By the men of Pennsylvania
Who served in the Army and Navy of the United States during the War of the Rebellion.

What Does Silver Sound Like? | A Forthcoming Sequel!

July 15, 2015

A month ago, The Sound of Diamonds released in all it's blue glory and if you haven't read it yet--do pick it up here on Kindle and paperback. And if you have read it, you're probably anxious for a sequel, knowing how things ended between Gwyn and Dirk. Hint but no spoilers: it's a great ending.
The Sound of Diamonds' sequel hits shelves a mere three months from now, 10/15/2015.
Below is the beautiful cover and intriguing back cover blurb.

The stalwart saint and the redeemed rebel. One is fighting for faith, the other for honor…

After Dirk rescues Gwyneth from the Iconoclastic Fury, she discovers that faith is sometimes fragile—and hope is not as easy as it may seem. Gwyneth continues her quest to learn more about the love of God preached by Protestants she once distrusted.

Meanwhile, Dirk’s quest is to prevent his sullied name from staining hers. Will his choice to protect her prove the undoing of her first faltering steps toward a Father God? Once separated, will Dirk and Gwyneth’s searching hearts ever sing the same song?

Rachelle wrote her first historical romance novel the summer after her sophomore year of college. Two years later, only a few short months after graduation, she signed a three-book deal to release that novel--and its sequels. Times gone by snatch Rachelle close. So she reads and writes about years long ago. Find out more about her at http://rachellerea.com.


July 13, 2015

You know that one person, or maybe it's a few people, you can just embrace and rest your head on their shoulder? Or they rest their head on yours? There's just a sigh and a deep rest that comes with that. My head happens to fit right near my Dad's shoulder, and if I'm really tired or emotional, I can bend down a little and rest my head on Mum's shoulder. In Idaho, when Gabrielle and I prayed together I sat my head atop hers as she leaned on my shoulder. We've literally cried on one another's shoulders.

What're family and friends for?

I'm going to need their shoulders and hands and prayers more than ever in twelve short days and beyond. The stubborn, prideful part of me hates needing so much help and assistance to do everyday, simple things for a while due to not being able to put any weight on my right leg. Another part of me wants to, and does, cry for how bittersweet it is. These shoulders always there, at any time for me, no matter if they're physically available to lean on, or if I'm able to just unload and confide in from states away.

A song that's become an anthem for this turning point of my surgery coming up soon has been Shoulders by For King and Country. It starts out with one of my favorite verses I've memorized but can't recall the reference:
I lift my eyes to the hills--from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. 
I go to search the reference. Psalm 121. Not having my big Bible with me with tons of underlining, I look up the whole chapter. It's short...so I read the rest of the chapter. And start crying into my diet Dr. Pepper. In public.
He will not allow your foot to be moved, He who keeps you will not slumber. The Lord is your keeper, your shade at your right hand. Ps. 121:3&5

I had forgotten that shade verse was in here and it just slayed me. And then God is Able comes streaming thru my earbuds.
Just think someone needs to read this:
Tears are not a sign of weakness or anything to be ashamed of. Jesus wept. And sometimes our tears turn into prayers that the Lord puts in His bottle and will one day once and for all wipe all the tears away.

God was speaking that Sunday afternoon I started this post, read His Word and wept. He has the biggest shoulders to cry on and I'm taking advantage of them right now. Resting in how He is for us with open arms that will never, ever fail me.

Real Neat Sisterhood of the World Blogger Awards

July 7, 2015

Many thanks to the wonderful Amber Stokes for the blog awards. I normally don't do tags/awards, but I thought this particular one was appropriate for us, both indie inspy fiction authors and kindred spirits thru the inter-web.

I'll be answering both sets of questions from these fun tags, and please don't forget to visit Amber's writing space and get to know this amazing gal.

Real Neat Blog Award Tag
1. What is your favorite genre and why?

Inspirational/Christian historical fiction. The best books in this genre are some that take you on a whirlwind time traveling journey. Not only making you feel as if you're standing right there in whichever era it happens to be set in, but you come away with a newfound knowledge of the history woven as current events for the characters.

2. Where is your favorite place to read?

On my bed in my room or on my family's back deck surrounded by trees.

3. What are you reading right now? What do you think so far?

Does a re-read count? I am finally reading the beautiful paperback published version of Rachelle Rea's debut novel, The Sound of Diamonds. I read it when it was in it's first draft, and I am loving holding it my hand. Quite surreal, holding one of my best friend's books!

4. What made you want to start a blog?

I wanted to write. Plain and simple. My chief love will always be writing fiction, but blogging as been such a blessing. It's cathartic, it's a community...

5. Do you prefer physical books or ebooks?

Physical books. I have the Kindle app but rarely use it.

6. Who is your favorite author?

Nope. I refuse to pick merely one. Lynn Austin, Joanne Bischof, Jocelyn Green, Rachelle Rea, Roseanna White. 

7. What is your favorite series?

Again, just one? Not how I roll. Lynn Austin's Refiner's Fire trilogy, Jocelyn Green's Heroines Behind the Lines  series, Rachelle Rea's The Steadfast Love series, and Karen Kingsbury's The Baxter Family series.

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award Tag:

1. What genre have you read most this year?

I really need to get back to reading faithfully. Not just fiction, but books of every genre. I've read historical fiction the most thus far this year, but Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P. Freeman was a phenomenal, much-needed read that I cannot recommend enough.

2. Do you enjoy fairy tales? Which one do you like most?

I love fairytales. Books, movies, retellings. I love them all. Most especially the princess ones. But all the fairytales woven through out the ABC TV show Once Upon a Time are impressively done. My favorite fairytale of all though is somewhat stereotypical for a writer/reader. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite. Bar none.

3. Favorite dessert?

Ice cream, custard, carrot cake...I can't pick a favorite.

4. Which Disney princess are you most like and why?

I think Belle. And a smidgen of Anna from Frozen. I'm stubborn and love books and time-traveling thru pages I either read or write myself, but like Anna I'm hopeless romantic a tad bit on the naive side. But I love my family just as fiercely as Anna does.

5. Which Disney prince do you consider the most dashing?

I'm standing my ground that Kristoff is a prince. Technically, I know he's not. But he's a Disney hero. And my favorite. His wry sense of humor, baby face, sheepish smile and blond hair...*cough* Not to mention his work ethic and his faith in Anna. I just love the big old galoot. He's wonderful.

6. What was your favorite blog post this year?
One from June 3rd. A lyric to a favorite song. Kind of an anthem for 2015. With Every Broken Bone, I Lived

7. A few books you hope to read soon?

The second and third books of Laura Frantz's Ballyntyne Legacy series, not to mention at least three on my bookshelf I bought last fall and haven't read yet! After my surgery I'll have ample reading time.

8. Favorite book of the year?

Favorite new fiction: The Sound of Diamonds by Rachelle Rea
Favorite non-fiction: Let's All be Brave by Annie F. Downs is a tie with Emily Freeman's Grace for the Good Girl.

9. Summer or winter?

Neither? Can I please say autumn? No? Okay. Summer. But only because of more daylight! The humidity here in SW PA is oppressive and not flattering. ;)

10. One goal you have?

Finish Amongst the Roses' sequel, A Rose Long Awaited by Christmas. It's a little over 40pgs long, all plotted out pretty decently I think--which is saying something for this pantser of a writer. Well, a slow pantser of a writer. I am in awe of writers I know who crank out a whole first draft of a novel between four and eight weeks. And they are wives and mothers, too! Looking at you, Joanne. ;) 

I nominate:
And anyone else who'd like to participate in the tags! You're nominated!
| Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site. 
| Put the award logo on your blog. 
| Answer the ten questions sent to you. 
| Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer. 
| Nominate ten blogs.
Yes I bent the rules a little bit. Ya'll are welcome to copy & paste the questions here if you want, or use these 10 questions below: 

1. Favorite month and why
2. Favorite childhood memory
3. When do you first remember wanting to write/blog?
4. Dream job
5. Name two favorite blog posts of yours and link back to them
6. Favorite place to read
7. Physical books or ebooks and why?
8. Favorite genre
9. Dream vacation, money as no option
10. Pick an author, alive or dead, that you would want to meet and why?