Who’s Gabbing and Who’s Gushing

Linda Hudson Hoagland, Author

Posted on March 30, 2015 by Gina McKnight, Sister #5281

From Tazewell, Virginia USA, welcome award-winning Author Linda Hoagland. Linda writes fiction as well as non-fiction novels, short stories, poetry and more. She is currently the President of the Appalachian Authors Guild, as well as a member of numerous writing groups. Linda has a distinctive writing style that will draw you into her scenarios, friend her characters, and keep you on the edge of your seat!

When did you realize you wanted to become a writer? I realized I wanted to become a writer at a very early age. In school we were taught to treat the books we were using with reverence and respect. We were instructed to look at the name on the spine of that book we were holding to see the name of the person who wrote it. That's where I wanted to see my name. I had just learned to read at that time ... Read more →

A writer's struggle: exploring spirituality in characters without boring the reader to tears

Posted on March 30, 2015 by Rachel Hayden, Sister #5159

One of my biggest struggles as a fiction writer is that I want to explore spirituality and religion with my characters, but I absolutely do not want to write Inspirational or Christian fiction. Why? Well…

I’m a romance novel junkie. Seriously. There is nothing I love more than reading, and writing, romance. I love experiencing those emotions, the excitement and the pain and the fear and the lust and, ultimately, the love. I’m a fan of such writers as Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Victoria Dahl, Kristan Higgins, Sarah Mayberry, and Colleen Hoover, as well as about two dozen other authors. I love their writing because their characters are interesting, quirky and flawed. The ways they fall in love are messy, sloppy, and sometimes it just doesn’t seem like it’s going to work out because the baggage from the past is too much. And that leads me to problem with Christian/Inspirational fiction. (I’ve previously ranted about this subject at length here.) I’ve tried to read Christian fiction over and over again, and every single time, I’m bored within 20 pages. The characters have very little personality, they’re chaste, they control all their urges, they never swear, there is hardly a hair out of place. They are simply perfect and I don’t buy that.

I recently checked a historical romance out at the library that I knew was Christian-themed, but I decided to challenge my prejudice and see if maybe, just maybe, I was being too hasty. Within three pages, I could tell that the author’s heroine was a simpering, spoiled little flake of a woman ... Read more →

Dried Mango - Simple Snacking

Posted on March 30, 2015 by Megan McIntyre, Sister #5220

This isn’t rocket science but just a method that worked really well and made short work of a case of Kent Mangos. I scored the ripe box at Ranch 99 Market for a song – you could smell the mango-y-ness wafting from the box (after of course you left the questionable seafood herbal Pinesol legit asian grocery smell).

For slicing and serving I really like this method using a glass, although the mangos in this purchase were almost too big, I could only do this AFTER slicing half but still helpful ... Read more →

bottled syrup

Posted on March 30, 2015 by Judy Torola, Sister #599

We are still boiling sap, but the yield this year so far is half from previous years. I'm guessing the later start to the sugaring season is contributing to that, at least for us. This year we got those cute tins to bottle some of the syrup in.

The snow is starting to really melt and the temps are starting to climb again, so I think the sugaring season just might come to and end, but who knows ... Read more →

How Do You Know If You're "Country?"

Posted on March 30, 2015 by Wanda Sturrock, Sister #3399

What, exactly is country, anyway? “A place,” you say? A place that isn’t City. That makes sense. A place without asphalt and concrete.


Where the wind whispers through the trees and tall, native grasses. Barns, animals, wildflowers… Yeah. That’s the picture most people have of country. And you’d naturally expect a country girl to live in the country and a city girl to live in the city. Right? I mean it makes perfect sense – sort of like you’d expect to find a chef in the kitchen or an artist in a studio ... Read more →

Sanctuary Gardener Update ~ 3/30/15

Posted on March 30, 2015 by Rosemarie Thompson, Sister #6055

This was surely a week of extremes here in the Charleston, SC, area….again. I was quite concerned yesterday that I would wake to a late frost, but thankfully, the temperature dropped only to 35 degrees. Whew! I have a lot of new growth on my raspberries, elderberries, herbs, and even my grape vines. Plus, I’m beginning to harvest my asparagus. A frost would not have been good for the tender leaves. Fortunately, all is well in my Sanctuary Garden. Come take a look.


The Tiny Tim peas I planted along my front walkway and in the pots flanking my front door are starting to bloom. The plants are barely six inches tall, and they’re blooming. The most interesting thing is that, unlike other pea plant flowers, these are pure white ... Read more →

What we did

Posted on March 29, 2015 by MaryBeth Schwartz, Sister #46

So I am back--for awhile I hope. We were busy working out in the yard---you know busy stuff.

First off we made a 8ft by 16ft planting garden. We had 150 roots, bulbs and tubers to get in the ground .
First we decided where we wanted it and measured and then we got 6 railroad ties and made our rectangle garden bed ... Read more →

Changing the World with Sustainable in Holdfast Bay

Posted on March 29, 2015 by Sarah Houlihan, Sister #3828

Today’s episode of Changing the World comes all the way from Austrailia! Here is what Sustainable in Holdfast Bay had to share with us:

What is your blog and/or project about?

“I started the blog about 8 months ago, primarily as a means to share information and as a way to document local sustainability initiatives. I live in Brighton, a suburb of Holdfast Bay in South Australia, and I write about the changes my husband and I, and members of our local community, have made in our lives and on the home front in order to live more sustainably. I also trained as a Climate Reality Australia leader in Junem last year. The blog is also a way to promote this project and communicate local, national and global updates on climate change policies and initiatives.”

How do you think what you are doing is making things better? ... Read more →

Making Maple Syrup

Posted on March 30, 2015 by Starletta Schipp, Sister #1927

In contemplating the present opening prospects in human affairs, I am led to expect that a material part of the general happiness which Heaven seems to have prepared for mankind, will be derived from the manufacture and general use of Maple Sugar. Letter to Thomas Jefferson by Benjamin Rush, August 19, 1791.

Looks like times haven't changed all that much when it comes to the gift of turning maple sap into maple syrup and maple sugar. It does seem like a sweet gift from Heaven.   Sugaring was one of the goal projects at the hobby farm this year and I am happy to call it a great success!

I'm sending a huge thank you to our daughters for the Christmas gift of the tools to tap the trees.  I'm looking forward to making pancakes and waffles for you throughout the year with delicious, pure maple syrup right from our own trees ... Read more →