First blog post

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Welcome to my new blog! I’m leaving The Puritan Chronicles’ site to use just for that trilogy, and adding this new blog as my general blog. My blog posts lately are just random musings, so I thought I’d give them a fresh new home!

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Favorite Recipes from Mom

Peni momLillian Sisk Sept 15 1920-March 21, 1991

In honor of my dear mother who would have been 99 today, I’m sharing SIX of her recipes for some of my childhood favorites! If carbs are not your friends, I suggest you turn back NOW!

Chocolate No-Bake Cookies

Combine: 4 Tbsp. Cocoa, 2 c. sugar, 1/2 c. butter, 1/2 c. milk, dash of salt. Boil for 1 minute. Take from heat and add 1/2 c. peanut butter, 1 tsp. vanilla, 3 c. quick-cooking oats and 1 c. marshmallows. Mix well and drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper.

Scotch Oatmeal Cookies (My maternal grandmother got this recipe off of a sack of sugar)

1 c. raisins

2 eggs

3/4 c. water

1 c. lard

1 c. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. soda

2 c. oatmeal

2 c. flour

1/2 c. nuts (optional)

Boil raisins in the 3/4 c. water for 5 minutes. Drain and save juice. Measure 5 Tbsp juice and mix soda into it. Cream lard and sugar, add eggs and beat well. Add salt, raisins, oatmeal and mix with spoon. Stir in juice & soda mixture and nuts. Add flour & mix well. Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 350 10min or so til golden brown.

Oatmeal Cake

1 c. quick oats

1 1/2 c. boiling water

1/2 c. shortening

1 c. white sugar

1 c. brown sugar

1 1/3 c. flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tspsoda

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs

TOPPING: 1/2 c. butter, 1 c. brown sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/4 c. milk, 1 Tbsp. flour

Mix the oats & boiling water. Let sit for 2-3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into greased 13×9 pan, bake at 350.

Combine topping ingredients. Bring to a boil. stirring constantly, pour on top. Sprinkle 1 cup coconut on top if desired.

Fabulous 5-Pound Fudge (makes 5 lbs of fudge and you GAIN 5 pounds just being in the same room with it!)

1/3 c. butter

4 1/2 c. sugar

1 -14 1/2 oz. can evaporated milk

Combine the above and boil 5 1/2 minutes on medium heat, stirring constantly so it won’t burn. Remove from heat and add the following:

1 c. marshmallow cream

1 13 oz. bar semisweet chocolate

2 6-oz bags chocolate chips (or 1 12oz bag)

2 tsp. vanilla

2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

Mix until everything is melted and pour into buttered 9×13 pan. Cool until firm. Cut into pieces.

Carrot Cake (Mom often made this for Dad to take to his Lodge meetings)

2 c. flour

2 tsp. soda

1 tsp. baking power

1 tsp. cinnamon

4 eggs

1 1/2 c. oil

1/2 tsp. salt

2 c. sugar

3 c. grated carrots

Mix sugar and oil together. In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients together. Add well-beaten eggs and the dry mixture to the sugar and oil. Add shredded carrots and mix well. pour into greased and floured 9×13 pan and bake at 325 for 55 minutes.

FROSTING: 1 8 oz. package cream cheese, 1 lb. powdered sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 stick butter, melted and 1 c. chopped walnuts.  Combine all ingredients and beat well. Spread on cooled cake.

Caramel Rolls

With any bread or regular roll dough you happen to have, roll flat into a rectangle about 9×15 or so. Butter liberally with soft butter. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon generously. From the long edge, roll carefully and tightly and pinch the ends and seams together tightly to seal. With sharp knife, cut into 1-inch slices.

Prepare 9×13 baking pan with 1 c. firmly packed brown sugar and 1/4 c. cream mixed well and warmed on very low heat until sugar is dissolved. While this mixture is still warm,  place cut cinnamon rolls in the pan and add more butter, sugar and cinnamon to each. Let rise til doubled. Bake at 375 30 minutes or til done.

 

 

 

Meet Narrator Angelina Will!

Those of you who enjoyed  the audio version of Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames may have wondered who the narrator, Angelina Will, is. Well, Ms. Will was gracious enough to respond to a few questions I tossed her way. Get to know Angelina in the interview below;

  1. How did you get involved with narrating audiobooks?

I had been a Voiceover for a bit recording different genres, except audiobooks, and thought a voice acting outlet resonated with my creative side so opened an ACX profile and Ta-da!

  1. What other voice work do you do? – Some additional VO realms I record for are commercials, telephony, narration, eLearning and Academia.
  2. Do you have a preference for what sort of books you narrate? I don’t believe I have a preferred audiobook genre of voicing, because each provide a different exciting challenge. I’ve recorded multi character non-fiction AND fiction, inspirational/motivational, academia and beyond. However, I do often feel my voice compliments the inspirational genre well as it has a steady smiley tone:)
  3. When you’re not doing voice work, how do you spend your time? Most of my additional non voice over related time is spent globetrotting and trying to get into fly by the seat adventures. I’ve been slowwwlllyy working on authoring a book myself; mostly about my travel mishaps;-) Though it’s sort of on the DL. angelina

Spotlight on Hinduism

This series begins with Hinduism.  According to The History Channel, “Hinduism is the world’s oldest religion, according to many scholars, with roots and customs dating back more than 4,000 years. Today, with about 900 million followers, Hinduism is the third-largest religion behind Christianity and Islam. Roughly 95 percent of the world’s Hindus live in India. Because the religion has no specific founder, it’s difficult to trace its origins and history. Hinduism is unique in that it’s not a single religion but a compilation of many traditions and philosophies.”

My first interviewee, Lata, kindly provided her answers below:

How long have you practiced this form of spirituality?

Since i was a child…almost 40 years
2. What about it fulfills your spiritual needs?

Worship expresses our profound love for God. Puja, bhajan, prayer and meditation are all worshipful means of direct, personal communion with God and Gods. God, Gods and devas are all real beings dwelling in the inner worlds. They can and want to help me in every aspect of my life. This they do in accord with my own patterns of karma and dharma. Daily, personal puja at home keeps me God-conscious and my home holy. God has established many temples to allow us to intimately communicate with Him. Temple puja opens a channel to God. Through His personal presence and shakti, prayers are answered, karma softened, spiritual unfoldment guided. Surrender, worship with intese love, and God fulfills my spiritual needs.
3. What challenges (if any) does being a hindu pose in everyday life?

Some of the troubling features of Hinduism is the birth based caste system, the status and the role of women and girl children, gender discrimination.

Hindu women in today’s world want their voices to be heard. They want to be respected and treated as equal partners in all aspects of life, including religious and spiritual practice. They also expect that gender discrimination will cease to be a social issue and both men and women should equally share the burdens.
4. Are there any misconceptions people have about your belief system you’d like to clear up?

1..Hindus are idol worshipers
Hindu will say he or she is worshiping an idol. Instead, Hindus believe a physical representation of God – in the form of an idol — helps them focus on an aspect of prayer or meditation.

2..Hindus worship cows
Hindus do not pray to cows but they do regard all creation and all life as sacred.

3..All Hindus are vegetarians.
A majority of Hindus eat meat.
But about 30 percent do not. That stems from a fundamental belief in ahimsa, the principle of non-violence

elephant with multiple hands picture
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Labels belong on cans, not people

labelsDuring a recent breakfast date with my friend Dee whose belief system differs from mine, I was given the suggestion of posting about the concept of labels in regards to human beings and their beliefs.

“I don’t consider you my Buddhist friend,” she said. “Do you consider me your Christian friend?”

She has a point.

Being the spiritual eclectic that I am, I have always had trouble with labels because aspects of different belief systems resonate with me.  I’ve mostly called myself pagan for the past 20 years, it being a broad term meaning “a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions.” Now, having joined a Buddhist organization, I still refer to myself as a spiritual eclectic, since I recognize validity in varying belief systems.

My favorite quote from Buddha is, “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”

I never did well with doctrine and dogma. “We are X so we believe in Y without exception.” Why? Because “that’s the way it’s always been”? Or because it nourishes your soul?

I am a big fan of diversity and to me that’s what makes the world interesting.

The suggestion given by  Dee has stuck with  me, and has even inspired a post series idea; I’m blessed to have friends of varying faiths and belief systems and would love to interview at least one of each. These interviews exercise my atrophied journalism skills once so sharply honed. So I will be putting a call out for interviewees. I don’t want to stir up any controversy or promote one faith over another, but rather showcase the similarities we share.

 

The Hitchhiker

Last month on a perfectly lovely summer day, we clambered into Dave’s pickup and headed out to lunch.  I’m not the most observant person you’ll  meet, so it was no surprise when I didn’t discover a large spider clinging to a strand of webbing on the passenger side mirror.

I don’t particularly care for spiders, but I was intrigued by the poor arachnid’s plight. Eventually as Dave drove, the webbing tore away, and our little stowaway was flung against the face of the passenger side mirror. There, with all her might, she clung to her strand of webbing.

brown barn spider in closeup photography
Photo by Egor Kamelev on Pexels.com

When the speed got to be too much for her, she balled herself up into a tight brown bundle, all 8 legs gripping the delicate white strand. When Dave slowed or stopped at a light, she unfurled her appendages and inched her way across the face of the mirror.

I watched with interest, even tried to take a photo but the lighting and angle wasn’t good, so I just continued to observe until the spider managed at last to creep to safety and disappear into the crevice between the mirror and its frame.

Don’t know if she ever crawled out and found a more stable, less mobile place from which to weave her web, but I kinda hope so. Nonetheless, it was quite a little drama to watch on our way to lunch!

The Power of Pink

pink

On 2 separate occasions while I worked at my local library, 2 different little girls of about 6 or 7 years old demanded, “I want a PINK book!” One father looked at me over his daughter’s head, smiled and said, “Just because a book is PINK doesn’t mean it’s GOOD, honey.”

Pink has always been one of my favorite colors too; second to my beloved purple. But why is the color pink associated with girls? Why is blue for boys? An interesting article from 2012 discusses this.

Pink is so strongly associated with women that a pink ribbon is the well-known symbol of breast cancer awareness. My well-evolved husband would rather get drenched in a downpour before he used my pink umbrella. Products like toiletries marketed towards women are often pink. Oddly, these items like razors, brushes, and deodorants are slightly higher in price than similar products for men; this is known as the “Pink Tax. “

This blog entry was inspired by a photo my niece Kristin recently posted of her beautiful daughter (see accompanying photo of  pink tutu-clad tot on her pink bike wearing pink sneakers and pink helmet).  It just got me thinking why? Why are little girls innately drawn toward that color?  And will there ever be a shift in this preference? Will a little girl someday insist on choosing a library book with a BLUE cover? I don’t foresee that shift happening anytime soon.  And that’s fine with me, because I’m a fan of PINK too!

 

Meet Indie Author Susan Hawthorne!

Susan Hawthorne is another fellow author I’m happy to feature. Give this author a try next time you have a hankering for fantasy or speculative fiction!

SusanH

1. You’re quite a prolific author. About how many hours a day do you devote to writing?

I try to devote at least 4 hours a day to my writing. Now that includes not only writing, but creating promos, working on covers, networking with other authors, et al.
Actual writing time depends on how my story is percolating! If I have a huge flow going on, that can be hours.

2.Do you have a favorite subject or genre about which to write?

I mostly write Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, and Women’s Fiction, but from time to time will venture into other genres!

3. Where can one purchase your books?

I have one book – a Fantasy – Bitter Prophecy, that is exclusive to Amazon and available through Kindle Unlimited, and three more that are published through Draft2Digital so they’re available on all major platforms.

Here’s the links for them all:
Bitter Prophecy: getbook.at/BitterProphecy

When Shadows Dance (Paranormal Romance) books2read.com/WhenShadowsDance

Feather of the Blue Heron:
books2read.com/FeatheroftheBlueHeron

The Christmas Angel: books2read.com/TheChristmasAngel

And you can follow me on Amazon at author.to/SusanHawthorne

4. When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

I have a big garden … flowers and vegetables … that need a lot of care and I have 4 grandchildren but they don’t live nearby so I see them sporadically. I also have two little dogs, Dixie and Zephra, that want my attention. 🙂