Monday Meditation

I Corinthians 15:3 “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures: And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” That, my friend, is the Gospel of Christ! Have you heard the Gospel? Are you ashamed of it?

When I was five-years-old, I knew I ‘d sinned and asked Jesus to be my Savior. I remember looking at the picture in my Bible Story Book of Jesus on the Cross. I realized that He did that for me! He also did it for you!

I am so thankful that Jesus came to Earth as a human being. He was completely God and completely man. You and I were born knowing how to sin. My mama didn’t have to teach me how to tell a lie or take something that didn’t belong to me. I just knew how. I know you did too. Because we are sinners, we were separated from God the Father. He is Holy and cannot look on sin. There was no way for us to get to God on our own!

But God loved us and wanted a relationship with us. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Luke 1:27-35 tells us that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, through Mary, His earthly mother. He did not receive the sin passed down through Adam to every other person who has ever lived. Even though He was tempted to sin like we are, He never sinned, so He could pay the penalty for our sins when He died on the Cross.

That’s the first part of the Gospel, but the best is yet to come. He didn’t stay dead!! He was buried and on the third day, He arose from the grave. He was fully God. That sets Him apart from every other god that the world claims. He is alive and is our mediator with God our Father. His shed blood covers our sins.

Have you accepted Him as your Savior? I’m not ashamed of the Gospel because it is the Power of God unto Salvation, to everyone who believes!! You can have that assurance too if you just call on Him, confess your sins and accept His free gift.

Wednesday Writer’s News

In a few days, I will be going the ACFW Writer’s Conference in Nashville, TN. The Lord has graciously opened many doors for me to go, not the least is giving me a friend, Kathy Brown Atwell to ride and to room with. I pray He will continue to help me prepare as I get ready to go. Also that He will work during the conference to show me His perfect will concerning my writing. I look forward to meeting many new friends and reconnecting with some I’ve known in the past.

Today, my son, Kelly, sent me the finished “One-page” for my contemporary novel, Harvest of Love. And I ordered bookmarks for the Harvey Girl Legacy Series. Things are coming together. It’s exciting!

Tuesday Tidbits

News of Interest in 1900

My book “Home for the Heart” takes place in 1900. Daniel and Elise Gilbertson who were the main characters in “Romance Along the Rails” live in Topeka, KS with their family. Liz (Elizabeth) who was four-years-old in 1885 is now nineteen. She is trying to come to grips with her parent’s death and her own future plans. She wants to find out about her natural father’s family.

With the Harvey Houses, many of the original frame buildings were being replaced by large beautiful buildings with hotels.  The Castaneda in Las Vegas, NM was built in 1899; the Arcade in Newton, KS in 1900; the El Vaquero in Dodge City, KS in 1900. Many others were built between 1900 and 1910. The Bisonte in Hutchinson, KS was built as a tribute from his sons to Fred Harvey, who died in 1901. It was built in the English Tudor style and was opened in 1906. Previous to that the Santa Fe Hotel in Hutchinson was the Harvey House. As you read “Home for the Heart” you will recognize some of these historic places. Several are being renovated now and are made into museums.

Santa Fe Hotel, Hutchinson, KS Harvey House before the Bisonte, 1900
The Bisonte Hotel, Hutchinson, KS Harvey House and Hotel

The Automobile was beginning to gain popularity, although there was a lot of resistance. Many thought it was a passing fad, that horses were more dependable. The automobile was not mass produced until around 1913.

1900 was a Presidential election year. Republican William McKinley was running for reelection with Theodore Roosevelt as his running mate. And Williams Jennings Bryan was the Democrat candidate. McKinley was reelected but was assassinated in September 1901. He was succeeded by Roosevelt. 

Thankful Thursday

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his Holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:  Psalms 103:1-2

Our Bible study yesterday evening at church was taken from this portion of scripture. We have so many things to be thankful for.  (1)We need to Bless the Lord. That refers to bowing down before Him in humble adoration. (2) Remember all the wonderful things He has given us. 

(3) He forgives our sins and heals our diseases.                  (4) He redeems our lives from destruction and crowns us with lovingkindness and tender mercies.                                            (5) He satisfies our mouths with good things so our youth is renewed like the eagles.  

(12) He has removed our transgressions, or sins, from us as far as the east is from the west. Aren’t you glad of that?      

But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him, and his righteousness unto children’s children. Psalms 103:17  I am so grateful for these verses. We claim them for our children and grandchildren.

Don’t forget to take the time to praise God for His wonderful goodness and care of us.

Wednesday Writer’s News

Home for the Heart

I have been working hard on my next book, “Home For the Heart.” It takes place in 1900. The main character is nineteen-year-old, Liz Gilbertson. If you have read my first book “Romance Along the Rails”, you will recognize Liz as four-year-old, Elizabeth Tilman. Elizabeth was orphaned when her parents were killed in a carriage accident. She now lives with Daniel and Elise Gilbertson, her uncle and aunt who have taken her to be their daughter along with their own children, Adam, Julien, and Rachel. Elise loves her adopted family yearns to learn about her birth father’s family. She has also recently been jilted by her fiance.

Michael Brannon arrives from Boston, to work as Daniel’s accountant at the AT&SF Offices in Topeka. He is attracted to Liz, but she’s not ready for a new relationship.

Liz is restless and decides to become a Harvey Girl to refocus and redefine her future.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to read, “Romance Along the Rails. You can order it at  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0791M6LCT   or  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/romance-along-the-rails-joyce-valdois-smith/1127983812?ean=9780999762608

Tuesday Tidbit

Harvey Girls worked along the railroad.

How the Harvey Girls Won the West

Fred Harvey opened the first Harvey House in Topeka, KS in 1876. For the first few years, men worked for him as waiters. The Harvey Girls joined Fred Harvey’s empire along the Santa Fe in 1883. The first waitresses were hired in Raton, New Mexico, when Harvey fired all of his waiters because of poor service. Fred Harvey decided to hire young women to work as waitresses. These waitresses were the first respectable women many of the cowboys had ever seen, aside from their wives or mothers.

Harvey’s new waitresses were so popular in the community and among railroad passengers and employees that he decided to replace all the waitresses on the line. Harvey advertised in midwestern and eastern newspapers and women’s magazines for “young women 18 to 30 years of age, of good character, attractive and intelligent,” to go west to work. Skeptics said the kind of women Harvey wanted would not work for him, but they did.

The women who answered his ads did so for many and varied reasons–economic considerations were the most prevalent, but adventure, a change of scene, and life in a new territory were also factors in young women’s decisions to join Harvey in the West. With the regimentation of an army boot camp, Harvey initiated the Harvey Girls into service along the railroad. Harvey had no shortage of applicants–thousands of women applied and were accepted every year from 1883 until the 1950’s.

There were great variations and many exceptions to Harvey’s rules over the years, but the women who were Harvey Girls were consistently good workers who charmed and impressed passengers on the Santa Fe for three-quarters of a century.           —The Harvey Girls-Women Who Opened the West    by Lesley Poling-Kempes

Monday Meditation

Have you been touched by the Lord? Rest assured He has your life in His hands. Psalms 37:23-24 declares that He has ordered your steps and He delights in your way if you are a good man. None of us are good in our own strength so this has to be referring to God’s righteousness which we receive when we accept Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin.

To have this incredible protection from the Lord a person must acknowledge that he or she is a sinner and needs forgiveness. I John 1:9 says: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. You can receive salvation and be covered by God’s righteousness. Pray and ask Him for forgiveness.

That being said, it’s a wonderful thing to know that the Lord has ordered our steps and that He delights in our way. Even when we fall, or mess our life up by trying to work things out on our own, we won’t be cast down because He is there to uphold us with his hand. Don’t you just love God’s Word and the promises of His provision? 

It’s been a blessing to see God’s hand in the lives of our daughter and her family as they’ve moved closer to us here in the Ozarks. His leading has been undeniable. It hasn’t been easy, and sometimes it’s taken a lot of faith to wait for the next step, but God has worked out every detail, providing them housing and jobs as well as good schools for their girls. I’m so thankful He has our lives in His capable hands.

There have been several times in my life when I’ve felt God’s touch; in times of need, I’ve felt His presence or when I’ve experienced His direct leading as circumstances fall into place in a supernatural way. It’s also wonderful to witness God’s hand in the lives of family and friends. These times aren’t necessarily frequent, but that makes them extra special when they do occur.

Have there been times in your life when you’ve felt God’s touch? Please share in the comments.

Thankful Thursday

God’s Love is immeasurable!

Thankfulness for God’s Love

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world: but that the world through Him might be saved.      John 3:16-17

But God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.       Romans 5:8

I can never be thankful enough for God’s amazing Love!! He loved us so much, He sent His Son, Jesus, to be born, to live a sinless life among us, and to die in our place. He paid the penalty for our sins!  To show our gratitude for His great sacrifice on our account, we must ask Him to forgive our sins and receive His free gift of salvation.

But as many as received Him, to them gave He the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.      John 1:12

The Spirit itself bears witness with our Spirit, that we are the children of God. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.             Romans 8:16-17

 He gives us the marvelous gift of becoming His child with all the rights and privileges. To show our gratefulness for His amazing gift of Salvation, He asks that we love Him in return.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.      Matthew 22:37-38

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.      I Corinthians 13:13

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation (substitute) for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. We love Him because He first love us.               I John 4:10,11,19

If you have never received God’s wonderful love by asking Him to forgive your sins and receiving Him as your Savior, today would be a great day to do that!

Wednesday Writing News

A writer has to extract the story from the brain and give it life. That’s not an easy process!

I want to thank my son-in-law, Erik, for helping me update my website and increase my media presence. Also thanks to my friend, Ginny, for her critiquing skills. I have been writing and editing “Home for the Heart”. 

I will be attending a writer’s conference in the middle of September and need to be able to describe my story to an editor or an agent. This is best described as an “elevator pitch”. It needs to be concise enough to share in the elevator. I would like your help today. Please let me know if this blurb would catch your imagination and encourage you to read my next novel, “Home for the Heart”.

Orphaned and recently jilted, Liz Gilbertson yearns to contact her birth father’s family but encounters dead ends at every turn. Michael Brannon, her adopted father’s new accountant, is attracted to Liz, but she’s not ready to begin a new relationship. She becomes a Harvey Girl to redefine her future.  

Tuesday’s Tidbits

First Harvey House was opened in the AT&SF depot in Topeka, KS, 1876

Did you know,  Harvey Houses were the first interstate restaurant chain in America. In 1876, Fred Harvey opened the first Harvey House in the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe depot at Topeka, KS. In 1878 a Harvey House with a hotel was open for business in Florence, KS. By the late 1880’s, they spread along the ATSF railroad line approximately 100 miles apart; from Chicago to California and to the Gulf of Mexico. 

In the day when eating establishments along the railroad had a less than sterling reputation, Fred Harvey, the owner and president of his company, demanded perfection in the Harvey House dining rooms and lunchrooms. He used fine linen tablecloths, sterling silverware, and imported crystal goblets. Fresh food was transported on the railroad so there would be gourmet meals all along the line. He placed ads in eastern newspapers for “young women 18 to 30 years of age, of good character, attractive and intelligent,” to go west to work. The Harvey Girl had to agree to abide by strict employee rules, live in dormitories, accept whatever location was assigned to her and abstain from marriage for the duration of her contract.

The Cracker Barrel restaurant chain along the Interstates today, remind me of the early Harvey Houses. Each one is set up the same, their menus are identical from one Cracker Barrel to the next, and in our experience, we receive efficient, courteous service and delicious food each time we stop.

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