2015 Writers' Blog Hop

Blog Hops in 2015: Come join the fun!

Thank you to those who gave input into the type of blog hop you would be interested in participating in. I’ve taken the feedback I received and compiled it, deciding to run several shorter blog hops in 2015. Look over the topics and let me know which one(s) you will participate in by sending me an e-mail. I also need to know which day works best for everyone to post – leave a comment below. (Most posts will be made the same day, but the link will be live for a week.)

General Writers’ Blog HopWriters Blog Hop
#1 Writing Goals – share what you’re planning to work on this year (Week of Jan 5th)
#2 Writing sample – share a sample from your current Work in Progress (Week of Jan 19)
#3 Favourite character – this can be a real person or a character from one of your fiction stories (Week of Feb 2)
#4 Lifelong learner – Writers need to be continuously learning. What did you learn in 2014 that helped make you a better writer? (Week of Feb 16)

Social Media Blog HopSocial Media Blog Hop
#1 Favourite Social Media Site – Tell us where you spend most of your time/energy and why (Week of Mar 2)
#2 Graphics for social media – Share your favourite source/app (Week of Mar 16)
#3 Scheduling posts – How often? Do you use a program like Hootsuite? Other tips? (Week of Mar 30)
#4 Content of posts – What do you share? Where do you find content? Ratio of promotional/other? (Week of April 13)

Parenting Blog HopParenting Blog Hop
#1 What do you find most challenging about parenting? What helps you get through the tough days?(Week of May 4)
#2 What parenting tip would you give to new parents? (Week of May 18)
#3 Share a family tradition with us (Week of June 8)
#4 Share your favourite holiday destination and/or how you make long family trips more enjoyable (Week of June 22)

Bloggers’ Blog HopBloggers Blog Hop
#1 Share your goals/mission statement for your blog and why/when you started blogging (Week of July 6)
#2 How do you engage your readers? (Week of July 20)
#3 Where do you find your blog graphics? (Share your favourite sources/apps) (Week of Aug 3)
#4 Share some blogs you guest post on and why (Week of Aug 17)

Christian Writers’ Blog HopChristian Writers Blog Hop
#1 Share your testimony with us (Week of Sept 7)
#2 Tell us about your favourite writing conference and how it improved your writing (Week of Sep 21)
#3 Share how your world view affects your writing (Week of Oct 5)
#4 Share a book which impacted your spiritual life and writing (Week of Oct 19)

Writers’ Marketing Blog HopMarketing Blog Hop
#1 Share your most recent published book/article with us (Week of Nov 2)
#2 Share a marketing idea that has worked well for you (Week of Nov 16)
#3 What advice would you give to someone who is wanting to market a book or article? (Week of Nov 30)
#4 Which websites/groups/social media sites have you found helpful? In what ways? (Week of Dec 14)

If you have any concerns or questions, let me know. I’m looking forward to learning with you in 2015 🙂


Merry Christmas: O Holy Night and some thoughts about Christmas

Musical Christmas12

Merry Christmas! O Holy Night is my favorite Christmas carol, the first one we sang at our Christmas Eve Service in Glendon last night. Due to spending time with my family, I haven’t done the research like I did the previous 11 days on my musical countdown to Christmas. However, I did find a beautiful version to share with you.

I’d also like to share a few thoughts about Christmas that have spoken to me in the past week or so:

From In Touch Ministries (Daily Devotion)

“As we lay our praises at the foot of the manger, let us not forget that He came so that we may lay our sins down at the foot of the cross. This is Jesus’ Christmas gift to you.”

On Facebook from Taber’s Truths:

“Gone to Dad’s to prepare a place for you. Be back to pick you up soon, Jesus.”

From a little gift book called Practice by Practice, written by a fellow Canadian author, Kathleen Gibson.

IMG_1539

We’ve had dreary weather all week – fog, cloudy skies, and . . . beautiful hoar frost. We had a few hours of bright blue skies and sunshine last Friday and I snapped the pictures below. The beauty took my breath away – and I was almost late for my Music for Young Children Sunshine class in St. Paul, because I kept stopping to take more pictures!

Frosty bale of hay
A farm near St. Paul, AB.

 

Frosty Gazebo and trees
In St. Vincent, AB

 

Frosty sunrise in December
A view in our yard.

 

Christ is Born
A scene from the Christmas play at the Glendon Community Church

 

Whether you are spending Christmas overseas away from family and friends, or in a busy noisy household, my prayer for you is that you will focus on the birth of Jesus Christ and the salvation we have because of His birth.

I’ll be taking a break from blogging over the Christmas holidays, but will be back in 2015. Watch for more details about some blog hops I’ll be hosting! You may also want to hop over to the InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship Blog on December 29th to read my monthly contribution there.

 


Musical Countdown to Christmas: Do You Hear What I Hear by Noel Regney & Gloria Shayne

Musical Christmas11

It’s Christmas Eve! As you make last minute preparations, take time to still your heart and mind. Read the Christmas story from Luke 2 and listen to your favourite Christmas carols. Enjoy this second to last musical countdown to Christmas.

Who were Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne?

  • Noel Regney was born August 19, 1922 in Strasbourg, France
  • Studied classical music at Strasbourg, Salzburg, and Paris
  • Drafted into the Nazi army even though he was French, but became a deserter
  • Settled in Manhattan in 1952, working as a television music arranger, composer, and conductor
  • He met Gloria Shayne in Manhattan while she was playing the piano in the dining room of a hotel
  • They married a month after they met
  • They composed many songs together. Usually Gloria wrote the lyrics and Noel wrote the music.

The Story behind Do You Hear What I Hear?

  • Written in October 1962
  • A plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis
  • Regney wrote the lyrics and Shayne wrote the music
  • The lyrics were written after Regney watched babies being pushed in strollers in New York City
  • Sold more than a quarter-million copies in the first week it was released
  • Bing Crosby recorded the song in 1963
  • The song has been recorded many times since

Here’s a version with some sand art

Historical Context

  • Written during the Cuban Missile Crisis (threat of nuclear war)
  • First recorded on November 22, 1963 – the day  United States President John F. Kennedy was assassinated
  • American Express introduced credit cards in the United Kingdom
  • Pope John XXIII died
  • Martin Luther King delivered his famous speech, “I Have a Dream”
  • The Beatles released their first album

Looking for more details?

My Gift for today:

Leave a comment below for your opportunity to win a paperback copy of the San Francisco Wedding Planner Series II.SFWP Series 2 Cover

 


Musical Countdown to Christmas: I Wonder and I Wander by John Jacob Niles

Musical Christmas10

 

Welcome to Day 10 of my musical countdown to Christmas. Remember to enter a comment for your chance to receive my gift of the day.

Who was John Jacob Niles?

  • Born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1892
  • Learned music theory from his mother and began writing music as a teenager
  • Served in the first world war
  • Studied music in France after the war
  • Sang opera and then toured the United States with Marion Kirby
  • A historian, song-writer, and recording artist
  • Traveled across the Appalachian Mountains to find folk music
  • Felt it was his duty to collect, preserve, and revive American musical folklore
  • Created dulcimers
  • Farmer
  • Wrote several books on music
  • Called the “Dean of American Balladeers”
  • A Contemporary of Joan Baez, Burl Ives, and Peter, Paul and Mary
  • There is a John Jacob Niles Center for American Music at the University of Kentucky which displays a number of instruments he crafted

The Story behind I Wonder as I Wander

  • On July 16, 1933 John Jacob Niles heard a little girl (Annie Morgan) singing a song he’d never heard before. She was dirty and wearing tattered clothes, but sang the song beautifully. The tune caught his attention because of the haunting melody.
  • She told him it had been passed on to her by her mother who heard it from her mother, etc.
  • Annie Morgan repeated the song seven times for Niles in exchange for a quarter
  • John Jacob Niles took the fragment of song he collected and used it to compose I Wonder as I Wander, consisting of a melody of four lines with three different stanzas
  • He completed the song on October 4, 1933 and first performed it on December 19, 1933
  • Listen to the recording below of I Wonder as I Wander as recorded by John Jacob Niles

Historical Context – What happened in 1933?

  • It was the worst year of the Great Depression
  • One in four people was unemployed
  • Adolf Hitler opened the first concentration camp at Dachau
  • A loaf of bread cost 7 cents; The average labourer earned $20/week
  • The Prohibition was repealed
  • Strong winds formed dust bowls in the Midwest
  • The vaccine for diphtheria was introduced in the United States

Looking for more details?

My Gift for today:

Enter a comment below for an opportunity to receive the 1,000 piece puzzle.

Puzzle


Musical Countdown to Christmas: Hallelujah Chorus by George Frideric Handel

Musical Christmas9

Welcome to Day 9 in my musical countdown to Christmas. Only three more days until we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ!

Who was George Frideric Handel?

  • Born February 23, 1685 in Halle, Germany, the son of a barber/surgeon
  • Wanted to take music lessons; Was opposed by his father, but encouraged by his mother
  • Played the organ for Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow at age 7 and was accepted as his pupil
  • Composed for organ, oboe, and violin by age 10
  • His father died when George was 11 years old
  • At age 18 accepted a position as violinist with Hamburg Opera’s Goosemarket Theater and also taught private music lessons
  • Attended Halle University
  • Produced his first opera, Almira, in 1704
  • Wrote and produced operas in Germany, Italy, and England
  • Moved to England in 1726 and became an English citizen
  • Started the New Royal Academy of Music and produced successful operas for the next 10 years
  • Began writing oratorios after the opera was no longer popular

The Story behind the Hallelujah Chorus

  • Handel wrote the Messiah (oratorio) in 1741 under the commission of Dublin’s Lord Lieutenant, based on a biblical libretto assembled by art patron Charles Jennens
  • The complete Messiah was written in a mere 23 days!
  • In April 1742, Messiah debuted at New Music Hall in Dublin
  • The Hallelujah Chorus occurs at the end of the 2nd part of the Messiah, which focuses on the Passion
  • The chorus presents both a single melody and then two or more melodies (polyphonic) at the same time
  • The chorus ends with the presentation of “And He shall reign” arranged in the style of a fugue, a popular form of music in the Baroque period
  • After Handel’s death, the Messiah was adapted for performance by a larger orchestra and choir

And just for fun – a flash mob version 🙂

Historical Context

  • A British fleet reached Cartagena de Indias (Colombia)
  • Captain Bering discovered Mount St. Elias in Alaska
  • Anders Celsius, an astronomer, introduced the Centigrade temperature scale

Looking for more details?

My Gift for today:

Leave a comment below for an opportunity to win a paperback copy of The San Francisco Wedding Planner Complete Series I, which I wrote with four other authors: Jen Cudmore, Mishael Austin Witty, Sheila Seiler Lagrand, and Patti J. Smith.

Cover for San Francisco Wedding Planner Series 1 Complete


Musical Countdown to Christmas: We Three Kings by John H. Hopkins Jr.

Musical Christmas8

Welcome to Day 8 in my musical countdown to Christmas. Today we take a look at We Three Kings by John H. Hopkins, Jr.

Who was John H. Hopkins Jr.?

  • Born October 28, 1820 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • His father was Bishop of Vermont
  • Graduated from the University of Vermont
  • Worked as a reporter, intending to go on to law school
  • Attended General Theological Seminary instead
  • Taught music at General Theological Seminary
  • Was a writer and poet, book illustrator, and stained glass window designer
  • Also worked as editor, deacon, priest, and rector

The Story behind We Three Kings

  • Originally titled The Quest of the Magi
  • Written in 1857 for a Christmas pageant at General Theological Seminary
  • Based on the biblical story of the Magi and their journey to worship the promised Messiah (Matthew 2:1,2)

Historical Context

  • Stephen Douglas founded a Baptist Seminary in Chicago
  • The United States Supreme Court ruled that Africans could not become citizens
  • Mark Twain began a two year apprenticeship to become a riverboat pilot
  • Joseph Gayetty invented commercial toilet paper
  • James Buchanan became the 15th President of the United States of America
  • The Ohio Life Insurance and Trust (New York Branch) failed, causing widespread financial panic
  • Queen Victoria chose Ottawa as the capital of Canada

Looking for more details?

My Gift for today:

Leave a comment below for your opportunity to win a CD with two Focus on the Family radio interviews with Mr. Tim Sisarich.

Tim Sisarich


Musical Countdown to Christmas: Go Tell it on the Mountain by John W. Work Jr.

Musical Christmas7

Welcome to Day 7 of my Musical countdown to Christmas. Today we’re going to take a look at Go Tell it on the Mountain, shared with the world by John W. Work, Jr.

Who was John W. Work, Jr.?

  • Born on June 15, 1901 in Tullahoma, Tennessee
  • Son of a church choir director
  • Grew up in Nashville
  • Earned his Master’s degree in Latin
  • Taught Latin and Greek
  • A professor at Fisk University
  • A professional musician who published more than 50 compositions
  • Decided to collect songs sung by American slaves

The Story Behind Go Tell it on the Mountain

  • The song was sung by American slaves as far back as 1865
  • In 1960 John W. Work III published Folk Songs of the American Negro, which included the song called, Go Tell it on the Mountain (author unknown)
  • Peter, Paul & Mary changed the lyrics and renamed the song, Tell it on the Mountain
  • Paul Schlossal rewrote the lyrics for children and named the song, Go Tell it on the Swingset
  • The song has been recorded by over 20 popular artists through the years

Historical Context

  • 1955 – Winston Churchill was defeated
  • 1955 – First transistor radio was produced by Sony
  • 1956 – Elvis Presley released his first song
  • 1957 – Soviet Union launched the Sputnik
  • 1958 – NASA was founded
  • 1959 – Xerox produced the first commercial photocopier
  • 1960 – Students protested segregation in Greensboro, North Carolina

Looking for more details?

My Gift for today:

A paperback copy of the Kathi Macias’ 12 Days of Christmas, which contains 12 stories by 12 different authors. My story, Cecile’s Christmas Miracle, is number seven in this series.

12 Days of Christmas Cover


Musical Countdown to Christmas – The Birthday of a King by William H. Neidlinger

Musical Christmas6

Welcome to Day 6 of my Musical Countdown to Christmas. I hope you’re enjoying this series as much as I am. Today we take a look at The Birthday of a King by William H. Neidlinger.

Who was William H. Neidlinger?

  • Born in 1863
  • Studied in Brooklyn, London, and Paris
  • A Composer of two operas, a mass, a cantata, and many songs
  • Put his own poems and the work of others (Whitman, Tennyson, Longfellow, etc.) to music
  • An organist and conductor in New York City
  • Founded a school for children who were underachievers in New Jersey
  • Developed music pedagogy and music therapy, which he tried at his school

The Story behind The Birthday of a King

  • Written in 1890
  • Originally published in 1912
  • The words and music were written by William H. Neidlinger

Historical Context

  • The first playable recording (1877)
  • Carnegie Hall opened in New York
  • Arthur Conan Doyle wrote Sherlock Holmes
  • Emily Dickensen (poet)
  • Recording of the Hallelujah Chorus by the Battery Band in New York
  • A decline in the New York Stock Exchange started an economic depression in 1893

Looking for more details?

My gift for today

Enter a comment below for your chance to win Every Child Can Succeed: Making the Most of Your Child’s Learning Style by Cynthia Tobias.

Every Child can Succeed