R is for Rain

Heavy DownpourMy favorite sound in the world is rain. Sprinkle in a tiny bit of thunder, and I’m in moody heaven. Rain helps me think. Rain makes me want to curl up with a blanket and a book and read. Some people listen to Pandora while they work. And I do, too, sometimes. But my favorite go-to sound for drowning out the world is rain.

Fortunately for me, there’s a website where this beautiful sound is available: http://www.rainymood.com/.

You’re welcome.

What’s your favorite sound for getting work done? (Tweet this.)


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.



 

Bronner’s: Christmas fantasy land!

It’s a Holly Jolly Blog Hop

One of my favorite motorcycle trip memories is when my husband and I rode our motorcycles from Northeast Indiana to the charming town of Frankenmuth, Michigan (“Michigan’s Little Bavaria”) in order to pick out a Christmas ornament for our 25th Anniversary. (Click on images to make them bigger if you like.)

Downtown Frankenmuth

Downtown Frankenmuth

Why travel 250 miles (one way) just to pick out a Christmas ornament? (Tweet this!)

Because, for one thing, it’s fun to ride motorcycles together. And for another thing, there’s a HUGE Christmas ornament store there!

Bronner’s was founded in 1945 by Wally Bronner. It’s opened 361 days a year and features over 50,000 trims and gifts. If you are a Christmas decorations fanatic, this is the store for you.

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Bronner’s Entrance

I tend to get overwhelmed easily in stores like this, but Bronner’s isn’t as chaotic as it may seem. The store is beautifully organized by color or theme.

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Inside Bronner’s
More ornaments than you ever imagined!
More ornaments than you ever imagined!
So much to choose from!
So much to choose from!
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The Christmas trees are stunning. Photos don’t do them justice. 

 The outside of the store is just as fascinating as the inside!

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Check out those herald angels on each side!
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Nativity
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The wise guy and his camel were my favorite.

Bronner’s Silent Night Memorial Chapel sits on the grounds and is open daily for viewing and meditation. Every evening there’s a ½-mile long Christmas Lane that glistens with thousands of twinkling lights. Over two million people, including 2,000 group tours, visit Bronner’s attraction annually! Wow!

Silent Night Chapel

Silent Night Chapel

There is one ornament I’ve been yearning to get. (If you read my book, The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots, you’ll know why!)

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Sasquatch!

Stop by next Thursday when I share what we bought to take home with us to celebrate our 25th Anniversary (way back in 2007)!

Do you like decorating for Christmas? Why or why not?

It’s a Holly Jolly Blog Hop!

I love Christmas!

And to honor the holiday, I’m inviting all bloggers to join our Christmas meme!

To quote Patty Wysong (the queen of all things meme):
“What’s a meme? A meme is when a group of people get together and post on a similar topic or theme. It’s the blogger’s version of a progressive dinner…or a potluck dinner. Full of variety and fun.”

Don’t know what to post for a Christmas blog hop? Here are some ideas:

  • Post anything at all to do with Christmas! ANYTHING!
  • This is a great way to post easy-to-think-of topics during the very busy holiday. You can plan weeks ahead!
  • Include pictures of Christmases past, or present. What are you doing to decorate? Where are you going? What festivities are you planning? Church activities?

The meme starts THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21 and ends WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 25.

You can post anytime Thursday to Thursday. We will keep the linky code open for six days. You don’t have to make a month-long commitment and you don’t have to post every week. Just jump in and join us as you are able!

What’s a linky code? It’s an html code you’ll place at the end of your post so you can link up to others in the blog hop!

I do ask that you comment on at least two of the blogs that link up to yours. It’s better to give than to receive, right?

Want to know more about memes and why you’d want to participate? Check out Making the Most of Memes for more information.

If you’re joining the hop, you may add the button to your sidebar or inside your post, or both. You can grab the code below:
It’s a Holly Jolly Blog Hop

<br />
<a href=”http://karlaakins.com/its-a-holly-jolly-blog-hop/” target=”_blank”><img alt=”It’s a Holly Jolly Blog Hop” border=”0″ src=”http://i128.photobucket.com/albums/p194/impeej/Holly-Jolly-Blog-Hop_zpse348f95c.jpg” /></a><br />

Hoppy Christmas!

 

Marco! (Polo!)

One of my current works in progress is an interactive ebook for middle grades: Marco Polo.

This dude was an amazing explorer and I’m finding it a challenge on how to squeeze all his amazing adventures into one 35,000 word (or so) volume.

Caravane_Marco_Polo

The stage I’m at right now is the outline stage.

Then will come the tons and tons of research to insert links into the text.

Marco_Polo,_Il_Milione,_Chapter_CXXIII_and_CXXIV

And then I will finally get to write the story.

But even as I write it, I’ll be researching as I go. Learning interesting little details. It’s the details that fascinate me. Such as the food, the customs, the attire.

Marco_Polo_-_costume_tartare old drawing

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What about history fascinates you the most?

Q is for Quadroon Ball

My current work in progress, River Moon Don’t Cry is about a young Melungeon girl who is taken aboard a sex-trafficking steamboat in 1838 for the purpose of being sold to the highest bidder at a Quadroon ball in New Orleans.  Those bidding are wealthy plantation owners in search of a plaçage, a “comfort woman” or “concubine.”

The term placage comes from the French placer meaning “to place with.” These women were not legal wives but their relationships were recognized as mariages de la main gauche, “left handed marriages.”

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The word quadroon refers to people of color with one white parent and one half-white parent. These balls encouraged women of mixed race to form liaisons with a system of concubinage. Quadroons were often highly educated and socially refined women who were unable to find black men of their own social status.

The Quadroon Balls began in earnest in 1805 when a man named Albert Tessier rented a dance hall where he held elaborate, elegant dances twice a week for quadroon women and white men only. At the time, race mixing was against the law in New Orleans, but white men would steal away from their white balls to mingle with the quadroons.

F190345-octoroon-webThe Octoroon or Life in Louisiana c. 1861

However, it wasn’t unknown for a poorer white girl to be sent to the Americas from Europe for the express purpose of being a “comfort woman.”

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A quadroon’s mother usually negotiated with the “sugar daddy” plantation owner for the price of her daughter, but it wasn’t unknown for women of color to be sold by other owners for a generous price.

A book I highly recommend on the subject is The Strange History of the American Quadroon.

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A fairly decent movie regarding Quadroon Balls is The Courage To Love starring Vanessa Williams.

The_Courage_To_Love

Sex trafficking is as old as time and unfortunately it continues today. The sex trafficking of children is particularly heinous. Please do your part to help educate others of these horrific crimes against humanity. And visit Operation Underground Railroad to learn more.


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.