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Nov 29, 2012
Promise BridesPromise Brides by S. Dionne Moore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm going to average this review out to a four star rating. This is a collection of 3 stories set in Pennsylvania during and shortly after the Civil War.

I'll give the first story, Promise of Time, 4 stars. A love story grows out of conflicting backgrounds when a widow from Gettysburg who helps on the Underground Railroad meets up with a Confederate defector.

I'll give the middle story, Promise of Yesterday, 5 stars. Wonderful post-Civil War tail of an ex-slave and a woman who helped slaves escape into the north. It was easy to fall in love with the characters in this story! I wish S. Dionne Moore had turned this one into a full-length novel.

I'll give the last story, Promise of Tomorrow, 3 stars. But to be fair, it had a very hard act to follow. Twenty years after the Civil War, a dam is breached and an entire town is swallowed. The love story is less dramatic than the first two, but the characters very likeable and easy to cheer for.
Nov 26, 2012
As the fiscal cliff approaches, it's disconcerting to watch our elected officials scramble around like water on a hot frying pan to get "something" done.

I'd rather they slow down and get the right answer instead of the harried one.  I'd rather pay some taxes while they work out the issues than see another Band-Aid slapped on a cardiac patient.

Let's take some time and see what's happening over in Greece, shall we?  Let's learn from someone else's mistakes before we crash in and make our own.

Taxing the rich will not fix our financial problems.  We don't have enough rich people.  Let's be honest.  The middle class will have to pay for the spending orgy we've been indulging in.  It's always been that way and it always will be. 

Most of the wealth in this country is held in the middle class.  It's spread thin among many more people, but it is where the money resides.  And it's where the government will have to go to pay off the obscene debt we now owe.

My question is this, before they raise our taxes - and they will - are our elected officials going to do anything to stop their irresponsible spending and rein in the unsustainable government programs that are sucking us dry?

I want to be able to look my grandchildren in the eyes and know that I handed them an America as great as the one my WWII era grandparents handed me.
Nov 22, 2012


Fall arrived with colorful leaves, crispy apples – and mice. On the farm, battling mice without a good barn cat is like trying to lose weight on an ice cream diet. I almost got used to seeing the little rodents zip across the beams and dart around corners. At least I stopped jumping each time I saw one. Then one morning I reached into a feed bin and a mouse ran up my arm. After executing a dance never seen before or since, I got in the truck and headed to town.

Still rubbing my mouse scaled arm, I told the nice lady at the animal shelter I wanted to adopt their most ornery cat. She looked at me like I was nuts. (I get that a lot.)

At their floor-to-ceiling cat cage and she pointed out a Siamese wedged in one corner with her ears pinned to her head. “That one has bitten everyone who works here.”

“I’ll take her.” (I got that look again.)

I learned long ago that ornery cats do better in a barn setting than timid or lackadaisical cats. They aren’t afraid to stand up to the occasional raccoon or opossum, not to mention the farm dogs and an equally ornery ram or two.

“Will you get her out of the pen?” the nice lady asked me, casting a wary eye between the growling cat and me. I’m not sure who she was more worried about.

I grabbed a pair of leather gloves from the truck and gathered up the hissing cat. The ride home was punctuated by a variety of pointedly unhappy feline sounds. It occurred to me that I might have bitten off more than I could chew. I’ve tamed a lot of critters, but this snarling Siamese spitfire might prove my undoing.

Miss Kitty fit in our barn like a turtle in its shell. She pressed herself up under the eaves and poked her nose out just far enough to hiss at me. Earning her trust would not happen overnight. Even though I was the person who freed her from the cage, she didn’t look at me as her savior. If she could have spit in my eye, I’ve no doubt she would have. Fortune was on my side since cats can’t actually spit.

At chores both morning and night, I climbed the side of the barn – it was a single-story structure – and talk to her up there under the eaves. At first I’d just talk until she stopped making threatening noises. Gradually she allowed me to stroke her face, then her neck, and then her back. Each new inch was a victory in trust. It took weeks before I could pull her out from her hiding place and hold her. Finally the breakthrough day came when I heard her purr.

Trust came hard for Miss Kitty. Life had knocked her around a few times. Once she learned it, however, she never looked back. For years she greeted me at chore time with a head-bump against my leg. Safe, happy, and full of mice, she became a valuable partner on the farm. Never again did a mouse run up my arm – not in Miss Kitty’s barn.
Nov 10, 2012
Horseradish roots are not a thing of beauty. Those twisted, gnarled, dirt-encrusted tubers do nothing to entice salivation. In fact, until a sharp knife peels away the grotesque exterior and exposes the snowy white core, there is nothing about a horseradish root to suggest it may be edible.

In the obscurity of our human past, someone brave – or foolish – held one of those rugged roots and thought to himself, “I wonder what this tastes like.” If you’ve ever put a chunk of raw horseradish in your mouth, you know his thought processes slammed shut with the first crunch. It’s hard to think while gasping for air and mopping the flood of both eyes and nose.

While I have no evidence, historical or otherwise, to back this up, here is my imagining of what happened next:

Pranksters being nothing new, this individual probably dared another poor soul to take a bite. The process doubtless repeated itself as more unsuspecting people wandered by. After an unknown number of prank victims spent their time gasping and draining, one of them had a light bulb – or flint flash – moment.

This nasty looking root proved useful for clearing out the sinuses and exercising the lungs. Being humans, they undoubtedly foisted a vile concoction of the root on their children for “healthful” purposes. But somewhere along the line, one of them discovered how good it tasted smeared on a grilled burger, and the rest – as they say – is history.

When we accept Christ as our savior, we are washed cleaner than the white core of the horseradish root. He peels off the twisted, gnarled, sin-encrusted parts and leaves us fresh, sharp, and clean. We’re transformed into something useful for seasoning our world for His glory.