As a New Year’s resolution, I’m determined to get a little more writing done. With that intention, I’ll be blogging less frequently this month. I still intend to moderate comments (your chance to win a prize) and I look forward to hearing from you. As for 2017, I’ve already thought up many fun ideas for upcoming posts. I can’t wait to share them with you.
But for now, below are five of my most popular blog posts from the past year. Also, you might like to check out some of the other menu tabs, such as Spotlights or Recipes & Crafts.
Five Popular Posts from 2016
New Picture Books, click here! What’s your favorite?
Jane Yolen’s Picture Book Boot Camp, click here!
Little Free Libraries, click here! Any near you?
Vintage Paper Dolls, click here! Paper dolls old & new.
Raymond’s Fire Engine, click here! (Although there weren’t quite as many comments on this post as on the other four, the day Raymond’s Fire Engine ran still shows more views than any other day in the history of this blog.)And now for my contest giveaway! Two people who leave comments on this post will win a free book (signed plus swag). Either Call Me Amy or Amy’s Choice, your choice. All names will be put into a hat and then my daughter will pull out two and present me with the winners (to be announced at the end of January).I’m looking forward to hearing from you and in return, sending wishes for much joy, peace, and good health. Thanks for continuing to be a part of this blog!
It’s the first day of winter and a light layer of snow still covers the ground from New England’s last storm. Seems to me like the perfect day to think about poets and painters who have been moved by falling snow to put pen to paper. Here is a small collection of their thoughts with a special nod to Whittier.
John Greenleaf Whittier (December 17, 1807 – September 7, 1892) was an American Quaker poet and advocate of the abolition of slavery in the United States. Frequently listed as one of the Fireside Poets, he was influenced by the Scottish poet Robert Burns. Whittier is especially remembered for his anti-slavery writings and wonderful poems such as The Barefoot Boy, and in particular for his book Snow-Bound.
Every so often there’s a Snowbound celebration at Whittier’s childhood home in Haverhill, MA.
In 2010 I attended one of these special events. When deciding to blog about it this week I felt sad because all of my pictures seem to have disappeared when my computer crashed a few years back, but then my daughter mentioned she might have some. Yay, she did and thanks to her I can share them here!
While the narrative poem is read aloud, local performers reenact what it was like to be stuck inside during the three day blizzard. Whittier wrote about this storm from a true memory of his childhood. Today’s actors sit in front of the exact hearth in the very same room where Whittier played and dreamed during that long ago time and we in turn got to witness the scene firsthand. One of the highlights was a ride around the property in a horse drawn wagon.Below is a beautiful painting of how the Haverhill homestead looked during the late 1800s.
He later moved to Amesbury, MA. That home is also open to the public.
Below is the opening of Snow-Bound (the complete poem is very long, but you can find it online with a quick google search). Click on the stamp if you’d like to see it larger.
Snow-Bound by John Greenleaf Whittier
The sun that brief December day
Rose cheerless over hills of gray,
And, darkly circled, gave at noon
A sadder light than waning moon.
Slow tracing down the thickening sky
Its mute and ominous prophecy,
A portent seeming less than threat,
It sank from sight before it set.
A chill no coat, however stout,
Of homespun stuff could quite shut out,
A hard, dull bitterness of cold,
That checked, mid-vein, the circling race
Of life-blood in the sharpened face,
The coming of the snow-storm told.
The wind blew east; we heard the roar
Of Ocean on his wintry shore,
And felt the strong pulse throbbing there
Beat with low rhythm our inland air.
Below is another section of Snow-Bound by Whittier.
So all night long the storm roared on:
The morning broke without a sun;
In tiny spherule traced with lines
Of Nature’s geometric signs,
In starry flake, and pellicle,
All day the hoary meteor fell;
And, when the second morning shone,
We looked upon a world unknown,
On nothing we could call our own.
Around the glistening wonder bent
The blue walls of the firmament,
No cloud above, no earth below,—
A universe of sky and snow!Three more writers on the topic of snow.
Whether you have snow or not, may your holiday season be filled with kindness, a genuine sense of well-being, and lots of fun!
You might enjoy this humorous post from two years ago when we had more than our share of snow in New England. Click here!
Barbara from over at the always fascinating March of Time Books (visit her here) nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award. Thanks so much, Barbara!Below are my answers to her questions.
What is your earliest memory? My earliest clear memories are from about the age of 5 because I was off on a new adventure—kindergarten! I also remember playing next door on our neighbor’s porch and seeing a peacock with my friend.
Where is your favourite place in the world and why? There’s nothing like home sweet home, but aside from that, I am most content by the ocean. I also felt a strong connection to Kensington Gardens—full bloom in April.
Do you have a favourite piece of clothing or footwear? What is it? Most of the time I’m a jeans and sneakers (or boots) kind of girl, but I also like long, flowy skirts with my boots.
If you write a blog what inspired you to start it? If you don’t—why not? My publisher encouraged me to start a blog as a way to promote my books. Being camera-shy and tongue-tied, at first I wanted no part of it, but now it’s an important routine in my life and I’m proud to be part of the blogging community.
Favourite snack potato crisps, peanuts, sunflower seeds or something else? One of my current favorite treats is chunks of ginger covered in dark chocolate. I also can eat more than my share of spicy potato chips.
Have you ever acted or sung on stage? I was a daffodil in a school play once–hardly acting but just thought I would mention it! Any other talents you care to mention? The first event that comes to mind is when my girlfriend and I joined in on a can can dance performance. I think it ran three or four nights and we even had to turn a cartwheel! Previously, I took ballet and tap for a couple of years.
Have you or anyone in your family traced your ancestry? If so is there anyone famous or infamous in your line? Yes, several of my relatives have researched our ancestry. Supposedly I am related to King George II through one of his illegitimate offspring. Also, to the poet James Russell Lowell, as well as to Peregrine White (first baby born after the Mayflower landed in Cape Cod, MA).
Have you ever experienced déjà vu? Yes, every so often I get a strong ‘been there, done that’ feeling.
Do you sing in the shower or in the car or both? Maybe once in a while in the car, but only if the radio’s on. Since I’m always listening to audiobooks lately, it’s a rare occurrence.
Have you enjoyed participating in this tag? Be kind, I’m only asking! Yes, of course, Barbara! I found your questions interesting to think about. Thanks again for choosing me for this fun award!
Here are my nominees: (Totally optional! I’m taking a few of you off the top of my head in no particular order, as well as trying not to repeat from previous tags.)
Cindy from simply.cindy
Rhonda from The Thankful Heart
Anne from Mehrling Muse
Ali at Spilling Ink
Anabel at The Glasgow Gallivanter
Deb at Deb Watley
Here are the rules: Thank the blogger for the award given. Answer the ten questions set by me. Nominate other blogging friends for the award. Write ten questions for those bloggers to answer. Display the award on your blog or in a post.
And here are my questions (I’m copying a few from others…)
Please share an early memory.
Did you have a favorite toy, book, or pastime?
Have you ever performed on stage?
Name a favorite song or band.
Do you have a ‘famous person’ sighting to share?
What’s the best prize you’ve ever won?
How many places have you lived?
Do you have a story of kindness to share?
You’ve won a million dollars: spend it in 24 hours, but not on yourself. What do you do?
How would you make the world a better place?