Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Landmarks: Turning Points On Your Journey Toward God

About The Book:   The well-worn rut most of us live in is safe, comfortable . . . some would call it dead. By contrast, coming alive requires willingness to journey into the unknown. Following Jesus is just such a path, one that takes us deep into His death and then lifts us up into His resurrection. There are some risks involved, and there is no point A to point B map. But there are landmarks—places we must pass along the way if we are to keep following Christ into real life. Landmarks explores these breakthrough places of the heart and mind. Experienced teacher and author Bill Delvaux shares his relatable landmark story and takes read- ers through nine different spiritual markers that must be encountered in order to live the full life Jesus has planned for us. Some of the landmarks include entering God’s story, letting go of idols, grasping your identity, awakening to the battle, bonding with Christ, and finding your quest in life. Join the journey. If you feel stuck out there on the highway of humanity and need tried and true spiritual direction, look for Landmarks.

About The Author:  After studying at Duke University and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Bill was involved for 8 years in pastoral ministry as a youth minister and church planter. That period brought much difficulty and darkness ending in a failed church plant. Next, despite initial objections, he took a job in 1992 teaching Bible at Christ Presbyterian Academy in Nashville, TN and eventually became the Bible Department Chairman. During that time, he also began coaching track and cross country as the Varsity Head Coach. Here he found his quest for the next 20 years: connecting the truths of the Bible into the aching hearts of high school students. As he went on in the quest, he found those same truths connecting to his heart in surprising ways.  Along with teaching and coaching, he began working with many fatherless young men, mentoring them in structured and informal ways. That eventually led into working with fathers and sons and finally into working with men of all ages. He then found himself teaching and coaching men in both small and large group settings, using his experiences to help them in their journey to become real men, men who know God intimately. And now he began to feel God’s quiet urgings to pursue this new quest. Despite his fear and initial objections again, his community of men encouraged him “to jump off the cliff” and begin something new. So in 2012, he left full-time teaching to begin Landmark Journey Ministries.  Bill’s passion is to communicate what God has been teaching him in formal and informal ways. In addition, he loves to come alongside and coach others forward in their own journeys toward God. He wants to continue using retreat settings, intergenerational events, and small groups to forward this ministry. “I want to be a part of a revolution among men so that they can feel the wonder of being sons of the living Father through Christ. So much hangs on this. So much dies when this is lost.”  His greatest claim to fame is being married to a very special woman for 26 years, Heidi. His other claim is having two amazing daughters, Abigail and Rachel.

My Thoughts About The Book:  I remember the days when Ifelt a strong desire for significance and recognition. Yet, at the same time wanted out of my life.   I found myself wearing a mask of being Christian, but yet I was not a "real" Christian. I wanted to feel different, special, but my own routine and desires stood in the way. I wanted to be my own boss.  Landmarks is an intense exploration of the human heart probing its wayward condition. How did I get there from here? The reader is led by an experienced guide; Mr. Devaux as he calls readers to identify and release the idols that burden one's spirit and draw believers away from the Living Lord. This book is a must read.  If you don't read it then it is your loss. 

I received this book free from B&B Publishing.

Z is for Zollicoffer and Zook

Felix Kirk Zollicoffer (May 19, 1812 – January 19, 1862) was a newspaperman, three-term United States Congressman from Tennessee, officer in the United States Army, and a Confederate brigadier general during the American Civil War. He led the first Confederate invasion of eastern Kentucky and was killed in action at the Battle of Mill Springs, the first Confederate general to die in the Western Theater. the sad part of Zollicoffer's story is that he inadvertently rode into the Union position, mistaking the men for Confederates with his nearsightedness and in the gathering darkness. He was struck by several bullets and soon died from his wounds.
Samuel Kosciuszko Zook (born Samuel Kurtz Zook, March 27, 1821 – July 3, 1863) was a Union general during the American Civil War, killed in action during the Battle of Gettysburg.  The 6th New York Militia helped out as a 90-day regiment during the first summer of the war. Zook served as the military governor in Annapolis, seeking support from politically influential men there to achieve a regimental command of his own. After he was mustered out, he raised the 57th New York Infantry and became its colonel on October 19, 1861.Zook's first combat was during the Seven Days Battles of 1862. His regiment was assigned to William H. French's brigade in Edwin V. Sumner's division of the Army of the Potomac, under Major Gen. George B. McClellan. Zook was personally scouting far out in front of his regiment in the run-up to the Battle of Gaines' Mill, got behind enemy lines, and found that Confederate Maj. Gen. John B. Magruder was conducting an elaborate deception, making it appear that he had significantly more troops in his sector than he actually had. Zook's discovery was reported up to McClellan, but it was ignored, and Union troops that could have been used successfully elsewhere remain tied down. On July 2, 1863, the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Brig. Gen. John C. Caldwell's division, including Zook's brigade, was sent to reinforce the crumbling III Corps line that was being assaulted by the Confederate corps of Lt. Gen. James Longstreet. Zook was directed by one of the III Corps staff officers toward the Wheatfield to reinforce the brigade of Col. RĂ©gis de Trobriand and to fill a gap near the Stony Hill. Zook, on horseback, led his men up the hill, which attracted the attention of men from the advancing 3rd and 7th South Carolina Infantry regiments, of Joseph B. Kershaw's brigade. He was struck by rifle fire in the shoulder, chest, and abdomen, and taken behind the lines for medical treatment at a toll house on the Baltimore Pike. He died from his wounds on July 3 and is buried near the grave of General Hancock in Montgomery Cemetery in West Norriton Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, near Norristown, Pennsylvania. He received a brevet promotion to major general for Gettysburg, awarded as of July 2. A small monument near the Wheatfield Road commemorates Zook's death.
One of his soldiers in the 57th New York later characterized Zook as "a good disciplinarian; he hated cowardice and shams; had no patience with a man that neglected duty; was blunt, somewhat severe, yet good hearted ... a born soldier, quick of intellect, and absolutely without fear."

Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is For The Seige of Yorktown

"Having built the Army of the Potomac the previous summer, Major General George B. McClellan began planning his advance on Richmond for the spring of 1862. To capture the Confederate capital, he intended to move his army down the Chesapeake Bay to Union-held Fortress Monroe. From there, it would advance up the Peninsula between the York and James Rivers to Richmond. Such a move would allow him to flank and avoid Confederate forces in northern Virginia. It was his intention that US Navy warships would ascend both rivers to aid in expediting the advance. This element of the plan was thwarted in early March 1862 when the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia attacked Union naval forces at the Battle of Hampton Roads. Though the threat of Virginia was mitigated by the arrival of the ironclad USS Monitor, efforts to contain the Confederate vessel drew off Union warships.  Despite this, McClellan pressed forward and his forces began landing on the Peninsula in mid-March. The Union advance was opposed by around 11,000-13,000 Confederates led by Major General John B. Magruder. Establishing himself near the old American Revolution battlefield at Yorktown, Magruder constructed a defensive line running south along the Warwick River and ending at Mulberry Point. Though a formidable barrier, Magruder lacked sufficient men to man the length of the Warwick Line. Assembling over 120,000 men, McClellan began advancing up the Peninsula. Locating Magruder near Yorktown, McClellan intended to hold him in place with Major General Samuel Heintzelman's III Corps while Brigadier General Erasmus Keyes' IV Corps moved south and west to cut off the enemy's line of retreat. The Union commander initially believed that the Confederate fortifications were limited to the vicinity of Yorktown. On April 4, Union forces pushed back Confederate skirmishers before encountering the Warwick Line the next day. Arriving at Lee's Mills, Keyes was surprised to encounter defenses manned by Major General Lafayette McLaw's division. Though he probed the enemy lines, Keyes did not press the attack and instead engaged the Confederates with his artillery.  The next day, Union troops led by Brigadier General Winfield Scott Hancock reconnoitered the Confederate lines north of Lee's Mill at Dam Number One. Taking some prisoners, Hancock reported that the enemy's defenses in the area were weak. Though alerted to this, McClellan took no action. This was largely due to his ill-informed belief that Magruder possessed over 40,000 men. Aware that he was badly outnumbered, the Confederate leader had worked tirelessly through various ruses to convince the Union leadership that his command was in fact larger. He accomplished this by marching a small number of troops past the same exposed location several times, frequently shifting his artillery, and laying down heavy fire whenever Union troops were sighted. These efforts were aided by a report from Keyes in which he informed McClellan that he did not think the enemy line could be taken.  Electing not to further scout the Confederate lines, McClellan stunned his officers and the enemy when he entrenched and laid siege to Yorktown. For the next week and a half, the Army of the Potomac dug in and began constructing a vast network of batteries. As the Union troops worked, Magruder was slowly reinforced to around 35,000 men. Building fifteen batteries, McClellan planned to emplace seventy heavy guns, including two 200-pdr Parrott Rifles, as well as over forty mortars. To aid in scouting the Confederate positions, Professor Thaddeus S. C. Lowe's Union Army Balloon Corps began flights over the lines using two balloons, Intrepid and Constitution.  Early on April 16, Union troops under Hancock again probed the area around Dam Number One. After his men briefly exchanged fire with the enemy, Magruder recognized the area's weakness and directed Brigadier General Howell Cobb to reinforce the area with six regiments. Receiving word that the Confederates were improving their lines, McClellan ordered Brigadier General William "Baldy" Smith's division to disrupt the enemy's work but not bring on a general engagement. Opening with an artillery bombardment, Smith later pushed forward Brigadier General William Brooks' Vermont Brigade. Crossing the dam, the Vermont men penetrated the Confederate lines before encountering Cobb's men. Fending off Confederate counterattacks, Brooks' men were ultimately forced to fall back when no reinforcements arrived to exploit their advance. Later in the day, Smith attacked further downstream but with no success.  As April progressed, McClellan continued work on his batteries. Across the lines, Confederate forces swelled to around 57,000 men and leadership passed to General Joseph E. Johnston. Aware that McClellan intended to begin an intense bombardment of his lines in early May, the Confederate leader made preparations for falling back towards Richmond. Though intelligence sources indicated that a Confederate withdrawal was pending, McClellan did not alter his plans which called for the bombardment to commence on May 5. In an effort to mask his intentions, Johnston bombarded the Union lines on the night of May 3. After dark, his army began retreating west. Ascending in one of Lowe's balloons the next morning, Heintzelman was stunned to find the Confederate trenches empty.  During the fighting along the Warwick Line, Union forces suffered 182 casualties while the Confederates incurred 300. Dispatching Brigadier General George Stoneman's cavalry to pursue Johnston, McClellan began organizing his infantry to advance. He also directed Brigadier General William Franklin's division to re-board their transports for a thrust up the York River. The two armies would next clash on May 5 at the Battle of Williamsburg. Though technically a Union victory, the Siege of Yorktown first showed McClellan's weaknesses as a leader. Overly cautious and paranoid regarding enemy strength, he would be repeatedly beaten on the Peninsula by General Robert E. Lee that summer."

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Project 365 - Week 17

I took pictures all week and then lost the disk with them on it.  My friend, Don, shared his amazing pictures in the mountains with me.  So here is my guest photographers offering.  If you want to see more then hop over to Frans and check out some of the other photographers.  Hopefully I will be back with my new disk at the end of the week.

Sunday, April 21st to Saturday, April 27th

Geese on Sunday in the Cove are near Gatlinburg.

 Stages of  Sunrise on Monday from the Tennessee - North Carolina line.
Playing with shutter speed and water on U.S 441 between Gatlinburg and Cherokee.

Taking a drive in Cades Cove.

Making the water look misty with shutter speed.

Cades Cove and sunlight - finally!

Wildflowers on the road to one of the Primitive Churches in Cades Cove. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is for Xenophobic

I could not find a Civil War battle that began with the letter X, so I looked for a Civil War X related word and found a perfect one.  The word is Xenophobic.  According to the dictionary xenophobia is the "fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners, or of anything foreign or strange."  Xenophobia is when people are afraid or hate another race.  This has to do with prejudice and slavery, the leading cause of the Civil War.  So in other words, xenophobia was a very crucial part of the war.  "Slavery was one major source of the tension between the South and the rest of the Union.  The primary reason for the secessions which began the Civil War was a disagreement over States' Rights:  constitutionally, how autonomous are the individual states?  The South feared that their autonomy would be weakened, slavery would be banned, and their economy and culture ruined due to laws passed by outsiders (more strangers) who didn't understand them or care to (xenophobia from the other side).  So yes, it did have something to do with the Civil War and with its aftermath.  The sad thing is....on all still does.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Friend

Today we are all telling our stories about what it feels like to trust a friend. And not trust a friend.  Come just as you are and be encouraged.  So let’s spend our five minutes of writing today, sharing about friendship. Fight it, love it, hate it, hurt or healed by it, we were certainly built for it.
Set a timer and just write. Don’t worry about making it just right or not.
Go all in with your words.
Are you ready?

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back to Lisa-Jo's blog and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.
OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:


As I began this post I cannot get past the tears.  Over the past couple of years I have lost some friends.  They were lost to me not because we had a tift....or difference of opinion.  My sweet friends are gone from this momentarily we are separated.  When I think of the word friend. I think, "sweet!"   I think of mine.  I am so blessed with friends.  I have some I have known since I was 5 and since I just turned 59 it is safe to say I have known them a long while.  I have friends from work that I love and would do anything for and they would for me.  I have friends I act crazy with, go thrift shopping with, travel with, gave birth to, married to, and am related to.  All of my friends are there for a reason.  In the final days of my father's life and when I was losing my mother to Alzheimers I had special friends at Waverly UMC.  They held me up.  They loved me when I did not feel love and just wanted my parents.  I have friends at Rock Mills who write poems for me, surprise me, include me.....and I love them.  When my mom died and I was sinking fast they were there to lift me up.  I have friends I sing the car or on a stage.  I love having friends and being one.  Some people go through their whole lives and never have one single friends.  I am blessed with a multitude of them.  My momma used to sing about her best friend all the time and everytime I hear this song I smile.  "What a friend we have in Jesus.  All our sins and griefs to bear.  What a priviledge to carry.  Everything to God in prayer."  She believed the words of this song.....and so do I.  Yes, I am blessed with friends....are you?



W is for Westport

"The Battle of Westport, fought October 21-23, 1864, was the last full-scale action of the Civil War in Missouri and west of the Mississippi. This major battle, the largest engagement west of the Mississippi River, marked the climactic end of a decade of war and turbulence along the Missouri and Kansas border."   So what exactly happened from October 21st-23rd, 1864?  
"On this day in 1864, Confederate General Sterling Price's raid on Missouri nearly turns into disaster when his army is pinned between two Union forces at Westport, Missouri, near Kansas City. Although outnumbered, Price's forces managed to slip safely away after the Battle of Westport, which was the biggest conflict west of the Mississippi River. Price's six-week raid on Missouri was intended to capture a state that had been firmly in Union hands during much of the war. Price hoped to divert attention from the East, where Confederate armies had not done well in the late summer of 1864. A blow against Northern territory could also hurt the Republicans in the fall elections, and it could raise much-needed supplies.  Price entered Missouri from Arkansas in mid-September. His force moved through the state with little opposition, but Price failed to capture either St. Louis or Jefferson City. In mid-October, he turned west up the Missouri River and captured several small Federal outposts. At Byram's Ford on October 22, Price's men pushed aside a small Union force attached to General Samuel Curtis's army. The rest of Curtis's men waited at Westport to the northwest. Price also faced a threat to his rear because Yankee cavalry under Alfred Pleasonton were moving in from the southeast. In short, Union troops were converging on Price from two directions.  On October 23, Price tried to fight his way out of his predicament by first attacking Curtis's troops along Brush Creek, near Westport. The Confederates enjoyed some initial success as they drove the Federals across Brush Creek, but Price did not have sufficient reserves to continue the drive. Meanwhile, Pleasonton's men were attacking on the other side of the battlefield, placing Price in a dangerous position. As Pleasonton's men pushed the Confederates back, Curtis's men also turned the tide on the northwestern side of the battlefield. Price's troops broke, and a mad retreat to the southwest ensued. Price's army might have been completely destroyed if the two Union forces could have coordinated pursuit. Instead, the exhausted Yankees halted, hesitant to continue the fight. Price's force was soundly defeated, though each side lost about 1,500 men. That was only about 10 percent of the Union troops, but it was 20 percent of the Rebel force. Price's men retreated into Kansas before the remnants of the force dispersed back into Texas and Oklahoma. In the end, Price's raid did little to disrupt the fall elections."  Whew....all that is left is "X", "Y", and (gulp and profuse sweating) "Z".  Will I make it?


Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for Vicksburg

Vicksburg is one of my favorite places in Mississippi.  It is filled with history, legends, and ghosts  If you are a gambler you can find a floating casino on the river, eat at Sollies Tamales at a scenic viewpoint, hit some outlets, or just enjoy the town as a whole.  We are not talking about today.....we are talking about the 1860's when life was not pleasant and brothers fought against brothers.  The Battle(Seige) that took place at Vicksburg.  "During the late spring and early summer of 1863, Union and Confederate armies battled for control of  Vicksburg, MississippiThe beautiful city on the Mississippi River now preserves some of America's most  significant historic sites. Among these are forts, batteries, miles of fortifications, historic homes and structures and even the wreck of a Civil War ironclad. The fate of a continent was determined here and Vicksburg today draws visitors from around the world. It is a place where the modern world steps into the past and where visitors still walk in the foot-prints of the men and women that forged a nation.  The Battle of Vicksburg, Mississippi, was the culmination of a two year effort by Union armies and navies to wrest control of the Mississippi River from Confederate forces.Located on a strategic bend of the great river, the city became a focal point of the Civil War when Confederate troops fortified the bluffs with an astounding array of heavy artillery.  New Orleans and Memphis both fell, along with other Confederate posts up and down the river, but by the spring of 1863 Vicksburg still remained firmly in Southern hands.  The task of conquering the "Gibraltar of the Mississippi" fell to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. With an array of impressive subordinates and a massive army, he moved down the Mississippi River.  Grant tried first to bypass the Confederate guns by digging a canal that would divert the flow of the river and bringing about the fall of the citadel without the firing of a shot. The effort failed.  Grant next tried to land troops downstream at Grand Gulf. Confederate troops dug in, however, and the firepower of the U.S. Navy could not blast them from their defenses.  Frustrated but undeterred, Grand moved further south and finally came ashore near Port Gibson. Fighting his way through Confederate defenders at Port Gibson, Raymond, Jackson, Champion Hill and Big Black River, he closed in on Vicksburg from the east.  The Confederate commander of the city, Gen. John C. Pemberton, withdrew his men into the fortifications surrounding Vicksburg. In addition to powerful batteries overlooking the Mississippi, Vicksburg was encircled by miles of massive earthwork forts, batteries and infantry trenches. Although Pemberton's army was much smaller than Grant's, he and his thousands of determined men left no doubt that they planned to fight for control of the city.  Grant moved his forces into position around Vicksburg, surrounding the Confederate army but also trapping hundreds of civilians in the city now turned into a war zone. Union troops began to dig siege works and place artillery to bombard the town as Southern soldiers and civilians prepared to withstand the coming onslaught.  The Battle of Vicksburg began on May 19, 1863, when Grant sent thousands of men storming forward in an effort to overwhelm the Stockade Redan, a powerful Confederate fort with 17-foot high walls and an 8-foot wide ditch. Defended by the 36th Mississippi Infantry, the redan (a redan was a triangular fortification) provided impossible to take. By the time the smoke cleared, Grant had lost 157 men killed and 777 wounded compared to only 8 killed and 62 wounded for the Confederate defenders.  Determined to try again before Pemberton could further strengthen his fortifications, Grant opened fire on Vicksburg on the night of May 21st with more than 220 pieces of artillery. Union warships on the river joined in and Southern soldiers and civilians alike tunneled into the ground to try to save themselves from the barrage.  The next morning at 10 a.m., the Union army attacked in lines three miles wide. Far from demoralized by the bombardment, the soldiers in the Confederate fortifications opened on the oncoming Federal infantry with musket and cannon fire. The fighting became hand to hand in a few places as the Federals tried to break through the Southern lines, but for the most part Grant's men never even got close to the main Confederate works. When the smoke cleared, more than 3,000 Union soldiers lay dead or wounded while Southern casualties were estimated at fewer than 500.  The fight for Vicksburg now turned into a brutal, ongoing siege. Union troops inched closer to the Confederate lines by digging zigzag approach trenches and pushing their positions closer and closer. Mines were dug under Confederate forts and one, the 3rd Louisiana Redan, was destroyed in a major explosion on June 25th. Southern officers, however, had heard the sound of the digging beneath their feet and had anticipated the blast. When Union troops stormed into the crater, they found Confederate troops waiting for them in a new position just to the rear of the destroyed fort.Another explosion followed on July 1st, but in the end it was starvation and not Union attacks that brought the siege to an end. With his soldiers and the civilians of Vicksburg reduced to eating mules, rats and even boiled shoe leather, Pemberton surrendered to Grant on July 4, 1863.  The victory ended Confederate control of the Mississippi as the last remaining strongholds surrendered after learning of the fall of Vicksburg. A short time later President Abraham Lincoln penned wrote the immortal words, "The Father of Waters again goes unvexed to the sea."  Vicksburg became an important Union bastion after the surrender and remained so through the end of the war."  (www.exploresouthernhistory.comIt thrives today as a commercial and tourism destination.   If you get a chance to stop in and "sit a spell" in Vicksburg then do it!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for Utoy Creek

One of the lesser known battles was at Utoy Creek in Georgia.  It appears that "after failing to envelop Hood’s left flank at Ezra Church, Sherman still wanted to extend his right flank to hit the railroad between East Point and Atlanta. He transferred John M. Schofield’ s Army of the Ohio from his left to his right flank and sent him to the north bank of Utoy Creek. Although Schofield’s troops were at Utoy Creek on August 2, they, along with the XIV Corps, Army of the Cumberland, did not cross until the 4th. Schofield’s force began its movement to exploit this situation on the morning of the 5th, which was initially successful. Schofield then had to regroup his forces, which took the rest of the day. The delay allowed the Rebels to strengthen their defenses with abatis, which slowed the Union attack when it restarted on the morning of the 6th. The Federals were repulsed with heavy losses by Bate’s Division and failed in an attempt to break the railroad. On the 7th, the Union troops moved toward the Confederate main line and entrenched. Here they remained until late August."(  There was no distinct winner of this battle.

Wednesday Hodge Podge

Welcome to another edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge.  Everyone is welcome to join the Hodgepodge here on Wednesdays...just answer the questions on your own blog then add a link back to your answers at the end of Joyce's post.
Here are mine~

1. April showers bring May flowers...what have you been showered with this month?  Church stuff(Clean up day, Homecoming), birthdays (a large number of my family have April birthdays, allergies, pollen.
2. What is the nature of compassion? Is it learned or innate? Can compassion be learned? If you're a parent is this something you've purposely sought to instill in your children, and if so how?  I  am like Joyce and think its a combination of nature and nurture. Some children come into this world with a gentle spirit that seems tuned in to the needs and emotions of the world around them and they almost automatically extend compassion. Others need to have that modeled for them and it's our job as parents to do just that. 
3. Do you prefer to watch romantic comedy or romantic drama...or are you rolling your eyes saying bring on the action flicks?  I am a chick flick girl all the way with a good comedy thrown in.  I do, however, like a good action movie once in a while (like Olympus Has Fallen)
4. It's April which means baseball season is officially upon us in the US of A. Humphrey Bogart is quoted as saying, "A hot dog at the ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz." Agree or disagree?
I love a good ball park hotdog....but dinner at the Ritz wins out hands down. 

5. What's something in your community or city that needs fixing or improving?
We have just done a beautification project and the city itself is looking really spiffy.  There are still a number of buildings that need to be rennovated or torn down. The roads are full of pot holes and there is one road that if you hit the pot hole it will jar your teeth.

6. Share a song you enjoy that mentions flowers or a specific flower in its title.
The Rose - Janis Joplin
Daisy A Day - Jud Strunk (makes me cry)
Red Roses for a Blue Lady - Bobby Vinton
18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses - Kathy Mattea
A White Sports Coat and A Pink Carnation - Marty Robbins
(Remember I am the Queen of Music)

7. April 22nd is Earth you believe in life on other planets? That wasn't the question you were expecting was it?
I believe God created the heavens and the earth....and yes I do believe in life on other planets...not necessarily human....but not alien either.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Do you and your significant other/husband have a song you call yours?  Mine and Franks is "Keeper of the Stars" as sung by Tracy Byrd.  I would love to hear yours.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for Tupelo

At a conference many moons ago several of us were sitting in someone' room playing our guitars and singing.  One of the guys was from Tupelo, MS and sang a little ditty that went, "It's two below in Tupelo."  The song has forever been branded in my mind.  Tupelo is where Elvis was born.  It is a great town to visit.  Today, however, I am going to tell  you about a Civil War battle that took place there.  "On this day, Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest suffered his biggest defeat when Union General Andrew J. Smith routs his force in Tupelo, Mississippi. The battle came just a month after the Battle of Brice's Crossroads, Mississippi, in which Forrest engineered a brilliant victory over a larger Union force from Memphis that was designed to keep him from threatening General William T. Sherman's supply lines in Tennessee.  Hoping to neutralize Forrest, Sherman sent Smith's expedition to destroy Forrest and his cavalry. Smith left LaGrange, Tennessee, on June 22 with 14,000 troops.  Forrest and his cavalry were part of a 10,000-man force commanded by General Stephen Lee, but Forrest and Lee shared command responsibilities. Forrest's strategy at Tupelo was similar to his tactics at the Battle of West Point, Mississippi, five months earlier. In both battles, Forrest used part of his force to entice the Yankees into a trap. The plan worked well at West Point, but in Tupelo Smith did not take the bait. Instead of driving right at Forrest, Smith dug his troops in around Tupelo. Lee and Forrest were uneasy about attacking the Yankees, but they agreed to try to drive Smith out of Mississippi. The assault began on the morning of July 14. Smith's Union troops were in an ideal position for fending off an attack. The Confederates had to fight uphill across nearly a mile of open terrain. Lee struck one flank and Forrest struck the other. Poor communication ruined the Rebels' coordination, and after three hours they had not breached the Union line. Although Lee was the ranking Confederate, he had offered Forrest command of the battle. Forrest declined, but assigning blame for the defeat is difficult. Union losses stood at 674, while Forrest and Lee lost over 1,300 soldiers.  Despite the Union victory, the overly cautious Smith had lost an opportunity to completely destroy Forrest and Lee's army. He had not counterattacked, and the Confederates maintained a dangerous force in Mississippi."(  Six more letters left in the A-Z April Challenge.  I have found battles for all but X and Z.  I may have to be creative when they come up. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Winnowing Season

About The Book:  The tornado that devastated Kings’ Orchard pushed Rhoda, Samuel, and Jacob to make a new start in Maine. Are they strong enough to withstand the challenges of establishing an Amish community—and brave enough to face the secrets that move with them?
On the eve of their departure to begin a new Old Order Amish community outside of Unity, Maine, Rhoda Byler is shocked to discover that choices made by her business partner and friend, Samuel King, have placed her and her unusual gifts directly into the path of her district’s bishop and preachers. She is furious with Samuel and is fearful that the Kings will be influenced by the way her leaders see her, and not what they know to be true—that Rhoda’s intuition is a gift from God.  Jacob King won’t be swayed by community speculation. He loves Rhoda, believes in her, and wants to build a future with her in Maine. But when the ghosts of his past come calling and require him to fulfill a great debt, can he shake their hold before it destroys what he has with Rhoda? Samuel has a secret of his own—one he’ll go to great lengths to keep hidden, even if it means alienating those closest to him. Throwing himself into rehabilitating the once-abandoned orchard, Samuel turns to a surprising new ally.  Can the three faithfully follow God’s leading and build a new home and orchard in Maine? Or will this new beginning lead to more ruin and heartbreak?

About The Author: " Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author who has written six novels, three novellas, and Plain Wisdom, a work of nonfiction coauthored with her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud. She’s been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life.  She is also a veteran homeschool mom who no longer holds that position. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible. She’s won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings’ Best Books of the Year. She’s been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.  Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Though she didn’t realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and cape dresses. Her parents didn’t allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times Luann came to Cindy’s house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them—afraid that if they didn’t, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann’s because her family didn’t own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults’ disapproval and the obstacles in each other’s lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy’s family moved to another region of the US.  As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children. Over the years Cindy has continued to make wonderful friendships with those inside the Amish and Mennonite communities—from the most conservative ones to the most liberal.  Cindy lives in Georgia with her husband, three sons, two daughters-in-law, and a new granddaughter."

My Thoughts On The Book:  Cindy Woodsmall has done it again! Every page is filled with characters that come alive.  I feel as if I know Rhoda, Samuel, Landon, Leah, and and Jacob personally.  I have not read one of her books yet that I did not love.  I cannot wait for the next book to hit the shelves.  Woodsmall shares faith, stories, love and life within the confines of the pages of her books.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group's review program for bloggers, Blogging for Books. I was not required to write a positive review. All they asked for was an honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

S is for Stones River

One of my most favorite places in the South is Nashville.  It is a place full of new and old and as many times as I have been over the past 15 years there is always something new to explore. One of the places I have explored quiet fully was the Stones River Battlefield.   "After Gen. Braxton Bragg’s defeat at Perryville, Kentucky, October 8, 1862, he and his Confederate Army of the Mississippi retreated, reorganized, and were redesignated as the Army of Tennessee. They then advanced to Murfreesboro, Tennessee(just outside of Nashville), and prepared to go into winter quarters. Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans’s Union Army of the Cumberland followed Bragg from Kentucky to Nashville. Rosecrans left Nashville on December 26, with about 44,000 men, to defeat Bragg’s army of more than 37,000. He found Bragg’s army on December 29 and went into camp that night, within hearing distance of the Rebels. At dawn on the 31st, Bragg’s men attacked the Union right flank. The Confederates had driven the Union line back to the Nashville Pike by 10:00 am but there it held. Union reinforcements arrived from Rosecrans’s left in the late forenoon to bolster the stand, and before fighting stopped that day the Federals had established a new, strong line. On New Years Day, both armies marked time. Bragg surmised that Rosecrans would now withdraw, but the next morning he was still in position. In late afternoon, Bragg hurled a division at a Union division that, on January 1, had crossed Stones River and had taken up a strong position on the bluff east of the river. The Confederates drove most of the Federals back across McFadden’s Ford, but with the assistance of artillery, the Federals repulsed the attack, compelling the Rebels to retire to their original position. Bragg left the field on the January 4-5, retreating to Shelbyville and Tullahoma, Tennessee. Rosecrans did not pursue, but as the Confederates retired, he claimed the victory. Stones River boosted Union morale. The Confederates had been thrown back in the east, west, and in the Trans-Mississippi." (  I included a link in case you wanted to discover more.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Project 365 - Week 16

It is Sunday and time for Project 365, hosted by Mama Fran.  Want to see some amazing pictures?  Hop over to her blog and check out everyone's offerings.  I know you won't be disappointed.  Ready or not here are my offerings and the stories that go with them.

Sunday, April 14th - Daddy's Birthday
Azaleas are finally blooming around here and they are gorgeous.  There are so many colors.  Today is my Dad's birthday.  It is a bitter sweet kind of day.  Miss you Daddy.  Frank took me to dinner at Mikata's in Opelika.  I love this place.  Since it was my birthday they sang the birthday song to me in Japanese and gave me a pineapple boat for dessert.  Yummmmo!

Monday, April 15th - My Birthday

Flowers from Jo and Jim.  Olive Garden from Marian and an Amazon gift card from Carol and Jeff (which I spent almost immediately).   Amanda called and wanted to take me to dinner.  We went to Milano's in the Valley.  It is a wonderful Italian restaurant.  They sang "Happy Birthday" and cheese cake with a candle was shared by the table.  We were too full to eat much more than a couple of bites.
Tuesday, April 16th
 The hydrangea in my bouquet is so pretty I thought I would feature it as my picture for the day.

Wednesday, April 17th
A beautiful butterfly I came up on headed to the Fellowship Hall at church.  It was injured so I just grabbed the shot and left it alone.  When I went back an hour later it was gone.
Thursday, April 18th

Friends frame from "sister" Debbie.  I am planning a picture of MaeLynn, Debbie and I to go in it.
Friday, April 19th
The Gerber Daisies are still gorgeous in my bouquet.  I left it at school so I could enjoy it all day.  Thank you again for the beautiful bouquet of some of my most favorite flowers.
Saturday, April 20th-Surprise!

 Today was Church Clean-Up day in preparation for Homecoming next Sunday.  After working we came home and chilled until time to go to the Red Barn auction tonight.  Deborah and Danny are going to try to meet us there for the auction and Johnna and Amanda are coming.  I am excited.  Sherry told me at the clean-up that she wanted us to stop by before the auction and see what she had bought this week.  The auction was to start at 5:00 EST and we needed to be at Sherry's at 4 CST so Frank let Amy and Wayne know we would be late to the auction.  On the way to Sherry's I had a wee pity party.  I had not SEEN any of my kids and Kat was supposed to meet us in Auburn today.....and I never heard from her.    Deborah and Danny texted and said they wouldn't be at the I was really enjoying my pity party.  We got to Sherry's and all the Porch People cars were there...and the pity party kicked in again....they were having a meal and we had not been invited.....As we stopped I saw what looked like gifts.....and I asked Frank, "am I going to cry?"  "Are we not going to the auction?"   We walked up to the porch and the boys were playing basketball under the carport.  I did not even realize that one of those "boys" was my SIL Brian.  It is not easy to get a surprise over on me.....but they did....and I cried.  Gifts, cake, Porch people, lots of love...what more could a person ask for for their birthday!  I love these guys.  Kat and Brian stayed til 7ish and by the time everyone had gone....I was in warm fuzzy world and we did not make it to the auction.  I am truly a blessed woman to have such wonderful friends!  Thank you Sherry for hosting this party, thank you to all the Porch People, thank you Kat and Brian for blowing me off about meeting in Auburn and being in Rock Mills....thank you most of all God for my life!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

R is for Richmond, Kentucky

When I began this challenge it sounded like a great idea since I lived in the South.  As I near the end of the challenge I now find myself concerned over the fact that there may not be an "X" or "Z" battle.  Hum....what a dilemma.  I have learned a lot about the Civil War....some interesting, some very sad...but all of it makes me know that I am glad I did not live during these war-torn years.  With the help of I discovered a battle I did not know existed and since today is R the timing is perfect. 
"The Battle of Richmond (KY) was fought on August 29 & 30, 1862, and was part of the Confederacy’s most concerted effort to capture the Commonwealth of Kentucky, its men and much needed material, for the Southern cause, as well as forcing the Union to retreat out of middle Tennessee and other key Confederate states.
     The Confederacy’s plan called for Major General Edmund Kirby Smith to move his force of approx. 19,000 men into the state using what is now the I-75 corridor, while Confederate general Braxton Bragg would move his approx. 35,000 man army around Nashville and into the commonwealth using the current I-65 corridor.  Kirby Smith and Bragg would operate independent of each other.
     Kirby Smith would sidestep a poorly supplied Federal garrison at Cumberland Gap and move into the Bluegrass State in mid August.  Confederate cavalry defeat Union troops at the Battle of Big Hill on August 23, but will retire due to the arrival of Federal forces in Richmond under the command of Major General William “Bull” Nelson.  
     Nelson’s inexperienced army was under the commands of Brigadier Generals Mahlon Manson and Charles Cruft.  They had about 6,000 to 7,000 men to match an equal number of Confederates.
By August 29, Kirby Smith’s cavalry will encounter a portion of Manson’s force, and Manson’s cavalry will pursue the retreating Confederates to an area near Bobtown were they will discover Confederate infantry under Brig. General Patrick Cleburne.
Manson will move his force south from Rogersville (near the Battle of Richmond Visitors Center) early on August 30, while Kirby Smith and Cleburne will move the Confederates north toward the village of Kingston.  Manson will order his artillery to fire on the Confederates about 7 AM.  The Battle of Richmond has begun.
     Cleburne will move his infantry into position to try and pressure the Federal’s left flank.  While this is occurring, Kirby Smith other divisional commander, Brig. General Thomas Churchill, will move his men through a hidden ravine (now known as Churchill’s Draw), to out flank the Federal right.  These coordinated movements doomed the Federals even with reinforcements under Charles Cruft arriving on the field.  The Federal force suffered heavy losses and retreated to Rogersville.  Overall Federal commander Bull Nelson was in Lexington headed to Lancaster but by now is on his way to Richmond.
     By noon, the Federals had formed a second line about a mile north of the Rogers House.  The Confederates moved on this line and engaged the Federal right.  After a short but fierce fight, the Federal line again retreated in poor order for Richmond five miles away.
By late afternoon, Bull Nelson has arrived and has formed a third line within sight of Richmond in the town cemetery.  As Confederates advanced, the boys in blue fired a wicked volleies into them.  The Confederates attacked the Union right and center, causing the right flank to collapse.  The entire Federal line quickly fell apart, and the Union boys skedaddled into the streets of Richmond.  Bull Nelson is wounded but escapes.
     Earlier in the day, Kirby Smith had ordered most of his cavalry to ride west to occupy the roads west and north of Richmond.  With the entire Federal army now in retreat, the Confederate cavalry captured most of the exhausted Union boys north of Richmond.  The Battle of Richmond was over.
The Union soldiers were paroled, or released with conditions, over the next several days, and the armies moved on.  Several of the Confederate units at Richmond would fight at the Battle of Perryville in early October.  After this fight, the Confederates retreated back to Tennessee, abandoning any hope for Kentucky."

Friday, April 19, 2013

Q is for Quantrill's Raiders and the Lawrence Massacre

Veering off battles I found myself quite fascinated with William Clarke Quantrill.  "The controversy swirls around William Clarke Quantrill. Some people would consider him a patriot of the South, doing his part again Northern tyranny. Others would consider him to be a lawless butcher that took advantage of the disarray brought about by the Civil War to assuage his need for brutality and cruelty. If we judge Quantrill by today's standards, most would agree with the latter description. Historians, however, look at an individual such as Quantrill in the context of his own time. Following is a critical, historical look at this controversial figure.  Read the facts and then you decide....modern day Robin Hood...or monster?  Quantrill was born in Ohio in 1837. He decided to become a schoolteacher as a young man and started his profession. However, he decided to leave Ohio to try and make more money for himself and his family. At this time, Kansas was deeply embroiled in violence between pro-slavery and free soil proponents. He had grown up in a Unionist family, and he himself espoused Free Soil beliefs. He found it hard to make any more money in Kansas and after returning home for a time decided to quit his profession and sign up as a teamster from Fort Leavenworth. His mission was to resupply the Federal Army embroiled in a fight against the Mormons in Utah. During this mission, he met numerous pro-slavery Southerners who deeply affected his beliefs. By the time of his return from this mission, he had become a staunch Southern supporter. He also found that he could make much more money through thievery. Thus, Quantrill began a much less legitimate career. When the Civil War began, he gathered a small band of men and began making profitable hit-and-run attacks against the Federal troops. Quantrill and his men staged numerous raids into Kansas during the early part of the Civil War. He was quickly labeled an outlaw by the Union for his attacks on pro Union forces. He was involved in several skirmishes with Jayhawkers (pro Union guerilla bands) and eventually was made a Captain in the Confederate Army. His attitude towards his role in the Civil War drastically changed in 1862 when the Commander of the Department of Missouri, Major General Henry W. Halleck ordered that guerrillas such as Quantrill and his men would be treated as robbers and murderers, not normal prisoners of war. Before this proclamation, Quantrill acted as if he were a normal soldier adhering to principals of accepting enemy surrender. After this, he gave an order to give 'no quarter'.  In 1863, Quantrill set his sights on Lawrence, Kansas which he said was full of Union sympathizers. Before the attack occurred, many female relatives of Quantrill's Raiders were killed when a prison collapsed in Kansas City. The Union Commander was given the blame and this fanned the already fearsome flames of the Raiders. On August 21, 1863, Quantrill led his band of about 450 men into Lawrence, Kansas. They attacked this pro Union stronghold killing over 150 men, few of them offering resistance. In addition, Quantrill's Raiders burned and looted the town. In the North, this event became known as the Lawrence Massacre and was vilified as one of the worst events of the Civil War." (americanhistory/  I don't know about you.....but I tend to agree and it is sad that they were associated with the Confederacy at all.